Created to speed up the development of “green” innovation, ten leading organizations have launched the GreenXchange (GX), a Web-based marketplace where companies can collaborate and share intellectual property (IP) that can lead to new sustainability business models.
Launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the founding companies are Best Buy, Creative Commons, IDEO, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Nike, nGenera, Outdoor Industry Association, salesforce.com, 2degrees, and Yahoo.
The benefit of placing intellectual property on GX is that IP owners can choose the licensing approach they feel comfortable with from research and attribution recognition to non-competitive use and simple fee structures, says Don Tapscott, chairman of think tank nGenera Insight in an editorial for The Globe and Mail.
Nike says it will share more than 400 of its patents on GX for research. As an example of IP that could have cross-industry benefits is Nike’s Environmentally Preferred Rubber, which contains 96 percent fewer toxins than the original formulation. It could, for example, be used by Mountain Equipment Co-op for bicycle inner tubes, helping the company bring a greener product to market cheaper and faster, according to the exchange.
Other partners such as Best Buy are committed to licensing patents and related information on GX to support sustainable innovation, while other founding companies such as nGenera and salesforce.com are providing the technology that enables the exchange of IP including support of “private rooms,” where patent holders and patent seekers can discuss prior usage, patent fees, patent restrictions and other confidential details.