Exclusive Rights to Saving the Planet: The Patenting of Geoengineering Inventions

Chavez, Anthony E | February 1, 2015

We will not be able to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions quickly enough to avoid significant climate change. Thus, we should anticipate that society will consider implementing climate engineering, either to avert a climate catastrophe or to reduce atmospheric carbon. Although geoengineering research is still in its infancy, in recent years the number of geoengineering patents and patent applications has increased dramatically. Because of the importance of these technologies to society’s future, the United States needs to ensure that these patents do not deter innovation or prevent these technologies from being available for implementation. Specifically, the United States should develop unique procedures to approve these applications and form a geoengineering patent pool that will facilitate both innovation and accessibility.