International News

Jul 28, 2014

Patents Goes Green

by Sharmila Ganpat

There are numerous possibilities which are enabling today’s population to mitigate the impact of human activity on the environment. One of the main possibilities lies with technology. This resolution involves research into technical methods to help safeguard the environment without the disturbance of human activity. In other words, “clean” or “green” inventions are being created to conserve and protect the destruction being imposed to the environment, so that we would not have to radically change our lifestyles.

Over the last few years, the relationship between environmental sustainability and intellectual property has frequently captured the headlines. Patents are the most significant vehicle to foster technological revolution. However, other intellectual property rights also have a role to play. Trademarks are also important aspects in that; they help consumers to distinguish “clean” or “green” products and services in contrast to others. Copyright-protected software can also play a part, as it has been shown that buying online helps in reducing emissions compared to traditional shopping.

Technology in the 21st century is becoming more and more innovative with respect to ideas and the expressed creations of the mind. New inventions are being thought about and made to help mitigate or reverse the effects of human activity on the environment.  The fact remains that inventions and patents are the key to the green revolution, for only technological innovations will allow us to contain the effects of human activity on the environment.

Green EnergyFor example, several brands of cars are now “Going Green” in order to enhance sustainable development. According to the CleanTech focused website, “CleanTechnica,” Toyota is moving and shaking in clean energy patents and leading green technology patents for the third consecutive quarter according to reports. Toyota’s patents were first and foremost in the fuel cell technology. This will have strong benefits over conventional combustion based technologies, in that, the product is water vapour instead of greenhouse gases and air pollution which create smog and cause health problems.

On the other side of things, Nokia is a mobile company which is trying to move in a more sustainable way. The company has filed a patent application in which the phone will charge up based on the movement of the user. Based on the article “Piezoelectric Kinetic Energy Harvester,” reports are wondering if this could be the start of the next generation of renewable energy cell phones. This will be a major advantage and opportunity for persons in developing countries with restricted electricity access. Imagine a person going about their everyday activities and the device is charging itself. A patent like this is major news!

With this being said, these two corporations, Toyota and Nokia are examples of industries utilizing more ecological technologies. Imagine the possibilities that still exist for not only industries, but us as individuals to create a more eco-friendly environment.





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Criminal penalties for Intellectual Property Rights Infringement


Maximum Penalty (TT Dollars)

Copyright and Related Rights incl. databases

$250,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Topography of Integrated Circuits

$10,000.00 or 5 years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Trade Mark (incl. company names represented in a special or particular manner)

$10,000.00 or 6 months imprisonment (summary conviction); $40,000.00 or 10 years imprisonment (indictment)

Industrial Design

$10,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Patent and Utility Model

$10,000.00 (summary conviction).

Falsification of patent register: $20,000.00 (summary conviction) or $40,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (indictment)

Geographical Indications

$8,000.00 or three years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Plant Variety

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim of patent rights

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim that a patent has been applied for

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)


The Copyright Infringement Ship

Piracy Ship

Click here to download image.



Piracy occurs when any of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights are violated.

Note 14 of the TRIPS Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) provides the following interpretation:

(a) “counterfeit trademark goods” shall mean any goods, including packaging, bearing without authorization a trademark which is identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of such goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the rights of the owner of the trademark in question under the law of the country of importation;

(b) “pirated copyright goods” shall mean any goods which are copies made without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorized by the right holder in the country of production and which are made directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of a copyright or a related right under the law of the country of importation.

The maximum penalty for copyright infringement is $250,000 or ten years imprisonment. The above pirate ship illustrates some common examples of piracy.