Three sustainable patent trends to look out for this World IP Day

Three sustainable patent trends to look out for this World IP Day

Three sustainable patent trends to look out for this World IP Day

Today is World IP Day, and we join WIPO in looking at how IP is encouraging the innovative solutions we need to build our common future, by focusing on a few of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals.

Today is World IP Day, and we join WIPO in looking at how IP is encouraging the innovative solutions we need to build our common future, by focusing on a few of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals.

Today is World IP Day, and we join WIPO in looking at how IP is encouraging the innovative solutions we need to build our common future, by focusing on a few of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals.

Apr 26, 2024

Apr 26, 2024

Apr 26, 2024

At Patently, we love a good list. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’ve been wrestling with something for ages and you finally cross it off, it’s like a drug! But today, we’re not just talking about any old list — we’re looking at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; a list of 17 goals created by the UN in 2015, with the aim of ‘peace and prosperity for people and the planet’, quite possibly the most ambitious ‘To-Do list’ ever assembled.


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short) are a universal call-to-action for every country on the planet, and if they are fulfilled, life on Earth will be better for everyone.


Ranging from eliminating poverty and hunger, to protecting the environment, and making education a right, not a privilege, the goals seek to tackle some of the most important challenges facing humanity.


Measuring the sustainable development goals progress with patents

It’s all well and good having a list, but how do we measure progress?


Well, we might be biased, but we think taking a look at patent filings is a great way to see how progress in any given technology area is being achieved; and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agree too, which is why it is the focus of this years World IP Day; there will be lots of fascinating content all over the web celebrating the contributions made by inventors and creators around the world and how IP contributes to the technological innovation that helps shape our world, and we can’t wait to read as much of it as we can — check WIPO’s World IP Day page for a great starting point.


As much as we’d like to, we can’t look at all 17 so let’s focus on a few and take a closer look.


Sustainable development goal: Clean water and sanitation

It’s astonishing to realise that on a planet 70% covered in water 2.2 billion people lack safely managed drinking water and 3.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation.


SDG 6 is aimed at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


Using a combination of Patently’s AI assisted Vector search, and traditional searches using patent classification codes like: Y02W10/00 Technologies for wastewater treatment, we have created a dataset reviewing all aspects of water treatment and waste management, and have some interesting things to show you.


Firstly, we can see a steady increase in filings year-on-year since 2000, with a definite acceleration in 2014, and although there has been a drop in filings since a peak rate of approx. 100k in 2020, there is still a significant amount of activity in this technology space.



What’s more interesting is who is filing these patents… when digging a little deeper into the applicants each year, we can see a definite trend of universities to get more involved. Back in 2000 academic institutions made up just 3% of of the total filings in this space, but in 2022 (the last full year of data available) they now dominate with just under 65%.


What has driven academia to take more of an interest in water treatment? Why is industry taking a back seat? Will the trend continue? All questions we’d love to get our teeth into but can’t right now; do you have any thoughts? We’d love to hear your ideas, get in touch on our socials.


Sustainable development goal: Affordable and clean energy

The aim of SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. We’ve analysed patent filings relating to production and distribution of all forms of renewable energy and put together the charts below.


Filings across these areas have been fairly consistent over the last decade, with a definite increase in the last year.


While this increase and its potential causes, are interesting in their own right, what stands out to us was the change in focus over the last 20 years.


When we group the filings by the main categories of renewable energy, we can see that innovation in the field of solar power is, and has remained high over the past two decades, but the focus on Biofuels at the turn of the millennium has dropped off dramatically, with Wind and to a lesser extent Hydroelectric related patent filings overtaking it.


This isn’t all too surprising; the rise in popularity of electric vehicles has almost certainly meant the need for a Biofuel alternative to petrol/gasoline has eased, and we know Wind power is being invested in heavily (I can see a wind farm from my window as I type this); it’s good to know that improvements in the technology are being developed that will inevitably make wind turbines more efficient, reliable and cost effective, which should see the technology spread around the world and make a massive dent in global carbon emissions.


On a side note, I recently watched Chiwetel Ejiofor’s film “The boy who harnessed the wind’ based on the true story of William Kamkwamba and how he built a windmill in his village in Malawi — no patents involved but human ingenuity at it’s finest. I would highly recommend you give it a watch if you haven’t seen it.


Sustainable development goal: Responsible consumption and production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, aka ‘Recycling’ for you and me, is another key area to focus on if we are going to make the finite resources of the planet last.


Looking at the trend in patent filings we see a relatively flat line at approx. 25k Patent filings for most of the last 20 years, before a noticeable increase in 2019, then a doubling in the number of filings between 2021 and 2022.


Is there a single industry sector that has suddenly grown a conscience and decided that it needs to up its game with respect to reuse and recycling… apparently not — looking at the break down we can see that everyone across all industry sectors seems to have finally got the memo as there is a fairly even split between the sectors.


An interesting statistic not shown above, is that of all the patent filings relating to recycling of ‘Plastics and Rubber’, over 55% specifically relate to recycling of packaging, with over 30% specifying food packaging.


If only fruits like bananas had a robust, natural and biodegradable covering of their own, like some sort of peelable skin, perhaps there wouldn’t need to be such a focus…🤦‍♂️


Round up

We think it’s fair to say that progress is definitely being made and that IP is crucial to keeping up the pace. You can check out the UNs latest progress report here: SDG Progress Report (2023) (spoiler alert, they agree but also think we can improve).


By Andrew Samm, Director

At Patently, we love a good list. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’ve been wrestling with something for ages and you finally cross it off, it’s like a drug! But today, we’re not just talking about any old list — we’re looking at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; a list of 17 goals created by the UN in 2015, with the aim of ‘peace and prosperity for people and the planet’, quite possibly the most ambitious ‘To-Do list’ ever assembled.


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short) are a universal call-to-action for every country on the planet, and if they are fulfilled, life on Earth will be better for everyone.


Ranging from eliminating poverty and hunger, to protecting the environment, and making education a right, not a privilege, the goals seek to tackle some of the most important challenges facing humanity.


Measuring the sustainable development goals progress with patents

It’s all well and good having a list, but how do we measure progress?


Well, we might be biased, but we think taking a look at patent filings is a great way to see how progress in any given technology area is being achieved; and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agree too, which is why it is the focus of this years World IP Day; there will be lots of fascinating content all over the web celebrating the contributions made by inventors and creators around the world and how IP contributes to the technological innovation that helps shape our world, and we can’t wait to read as much of it as we can — check WIPO’s World IP Day page for a great starting point.


As much as we’d like to, we can’t look at all 17 so let’s focus on a few and take a closer look.


Sustainable development goal: Clean water and sanitation

It’s astonishing to realise that on a planet 70% covered in water 2.2 billion people lack safely managed drinking water and 3.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation.


SDG 6 is aimed at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


Using a combination of Patently’s AI assisted Vector search, and traditional searches using patent classification codes like: Y02W10/00 Technologies for wastewater treatment, we have created a dataset reviewing all aspects of water treatment and waste management, and have some interesting things to show you.


Firstly, we can see a steady increase in filings year-on-year since 2000, with a definite acceleration in 2014, and although there has been a drop in filings since a peak rate of approx. 100k in 2020, there is still a significant amount of activity in this technology space.



What’s more interesting is who is filing these patents… when digging a little deeper into the applicants each year, we can see a definite trend of universities to get more involved. Back in 2000 academic institutions made up just 3% of of the total filings in this space, but in 2022 (the last full year of data available) they now dominate with just under 65%.


What has driven academia to take more of an interest in water treatment? Why is industry taking a back seat? Will the trend continue? All questions we’d love to get our teeth into but can’t right now; do you have any thoughts? We’d love to hear your ideas, get in touch on our socials.


Sustainable development goal: Affordable and clean energy

The aim of SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. We’ve analysed patent filings relating to production and distribution of all forms of renewable energy and put together the charts below.


Filings across these areas have been fairly consistent over the last decade, with a definite increase in the last year.


While this increase and its potential causes, are interesting in their own right, what stands out to us was the change in focus over the last 20 years.


When we group the filings by the main categories of renewable energy, we can see that innovation in the field of solar power is, and has remained high over the past two decades, but the focus on Biofuels at the turn of the millennium has dropped off dramatically, with Wind and to a lesser extent Hydroelectric related patent filings overtaking it.


This isn’t all too surprising; the rise in popularity of electric vehicles has almost certainly meant the need for a Biofuel alternative to petrol/gasoline has eased, and we know Wind power is being invested in heavily (I can see a wind farm from my window as I type this); it’s good to know that improvements in the technology are being developed that will inevitably make wind turbines more efficient, reliable and cost effective, which should see the technology spread around the world and make a massive dent in global carbon emissions.


On a side note, I recently watched Chiwetel Ejiofor’s film “The boy who harnessed the wind’ based on the true story of William Kamkwamba and how he built a windmill in his village in Malawi — no patents involved but human ingenuity at it’s finest. I would highly recommend you give it a watch if you haven’t seen it.


Sustainable development goal: Responsible consumption and production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, aka ‘Recycling’ for you and me, is another key area to focus on if we are going to make the finite resources of the planet last.


Looking at the trend in patent filings we see a relatively flat line at approx. 25k Patent filings for most of the last 20 years, before a noticeable increase in 2019, then a doubling in the number of filings between 2021 and 2022.


Is there a single industry sector that has suddenly grown a conscience and decided that it needs to up its game with respect to reuse and recycling… apparently not — looking at the break down we can see that everyone across all industry sectors seems to have finally got the memo as there is a fairly even split between the sectors.


An interesting statistic not shown above, is that of all the patent filings relating to recycling of ‘Plastics and Rubber’, over 55% specifically relate to recycling of packaging, with over 30% specifying food packaging.


If only fruits like bananas had a robust, natural and biodegradable covering of their own, like some sort of peelable skin, perhaps there wouldn’t need to be such a focus…🤦‍♂️


Round up

We think it’s fair to say that progress is definitely being made and that IP is crucial to keeping up the pace. You can check out the UNs latest progress report here: SDG Progress Report (2023) (spoiler alert, they agree but also think we can improve).


By Andrew Samm, Director

At Patently, we love a good list. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’ve been wrestling with something for ages and you finally cross it off, it’s like a drug! But today, we’re not just talking about any old list — we’re looking at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; a list of 17 goals created by the UN in 2015, with the aim of ‘peace and prosperity for people and the planet’, quite possibly the most ambitious ‘To-Do list’ ever assembled.


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short) are a universal call-to-action for every country on the planet, and if they are fulfilled, life on Earth will be better for everyone.


Ranging from eliminating poverty and hunger, to protecting the environment, and making education a right, not a privilege, the goals seek to tackle some of the most important challenges facing humanity.


Measuring the sustainable development goals progress with patents

It’s all well and good having a list, but how do we measure progress?


Well, we might be biased, but we think taking a look at patent filings is a great way to see how progress in any given technology area is being achieved; and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agree too, which is why it is the focus of this years World IP Day; there will be lots of fascinating content all over the web celebrating the contributions made by inventors and creators around the world and how IP contributes to the technological innovation that helps shape our world, and we can’t wait to read as much of it as we can — check WIPO’s World IP Day page for a great starting point.


As much as we’d like to, we can’t look at all 17 so let’s focus on a few and take a closer look.


Sustainable development goal: Clean water and sanitation

It’s astonishing to realise that on a planet 70% covered in water 2.2 billion people lack safely managed drinking water and 3.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation.


SDG 6 is aimed at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


Using a combination of Patently’s AI assisted Vector search, and traditional searches using patent classification codes like: Y02W10/00 Technologies for wastewater treatment, we have created a dataset reviewing all aspects of water treatment and waste management, and have some interesting things to show you.


Firstly, we can see a steady increase in filings year-on-year since 2000, with a definite acceleration in 2014, and although there has been a drop in filings since a peak rate of approx. 100k in 2020, there is still a significant amount of activity in this technology space.



What’s more interesting is who is filing these patents… when digging a little deeper into the applicants each year, we can see a definite trend of universities to get more involved. Back in 2000 academic institutions made up just 3% of of the total filings in this space, but in 2022 (the last full year of data available) they now dominate with just under 65%.


What has driven academia to take more of an interest in water treatment? Why is industry taking a back seat? Will the trend continue? All questions we’d love to get our teeth into but can’t right now; do you have any thoughts? We’d love to hear your ideas, get in touch on our socials.


Sustainable development goal: Affordable and clean energy

The aim of SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. We’ve analysed patent filings relating to production and distribution of all forms of renewable energy and put together the charts below.


Filings across these areas have been fairly consistent over the last decade, with a definite increase in the last year.


While this increase and its potential causes, are interesting in their own right, what stands out to us was the change in focus over the last 20 years.


When we group the filings by the main categories of renewable energy, we can see that innovation in the field of solar power is, and has remained high over the past two decades, but the focus on Biofuels at the turn of the millennium has dropped off dramatically, with Wind and to a lesser extent Hydroelectric related patent filings overtaking it.


This isn’t all too surprising; the rise in popularity of electric vehicles has almost certainly meant the need for a Biofuel alternative to petrol/gasoline has eased, and we know Wind power is being invested in heavily (I can see a wind farm from my window as I type this); it’s good to know that improvements in the technology are being developed that will inevitably make wind turbines more efficient, reliable and cost effective, which should see the technology spread around the world and make a massive dent in global carbon emissions.


On a side note, I recently watched Chiwetel Ejiofor’s film “The boy who harnessed the wind’ based on the true story of William Kamkwamba and how he built a windmill in his village in Malawi — no patents involved but human ingenuity at it’s finest. I would highly recommend you give it a watch if you haven’t seen it.


Sustainable development goal: Responsible consumption and production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, aka ‘Recycling’ for you and me, is another key area to focus on if we are going to make the finite resources of the planet last.


Looking at the trend in patent filings we see a relatively flat line at approx. 25k Patent filings for most of the last 20 years, before a noticeable increase in 2019, then a doubling in the number of filings between 2021 and 2022.


Is there a single industry sector that has suddenly grown a conscience and decided that it needs to up its game with respect to reuse and recycling… apparently not — looking at the break down we can see that everyone across all industry sectors seems to have finally got the memo as there is a fairly even split between the sectors.


An interesting statistic not shown above, is that of all the patent filings relating to recycling of ‘Plastics and Rubber’, over 55% specifically relate to recycling of packaging, with over 30% specifying food packaging.


If only fruits like bananas had a robust, natural and biodegradable covering of their own, like some sort of peelable skin, perhaps there wouldn’t need to be such a focus…🤦‍♂️


Round up

We think it’s fair to say that progress is definitely being made and that IP is crucial to keeping up the pace. You can check out the UNs latest progress report here: SDG Progress Report (2023) (spoiler alert, they agree but also think we can improve).


By Andrew Samm, Director