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World Intellectual Property Day 2020: Green Innovation Surge Needed to Address Climate Change, New WIPO Figures Show

Geneva, April 23, 2020

Innovation in environmentally friendly technologies as measured by international patent applications barely rose in 2019, according to new WIPO figures released for World Intellectual Property Day 2020, prompting a call from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry for a green tech surge to fight climate change.

Marking the April 26, 2020, "World IP Day 2020: Innovate for a Green Future," WIPO analyzed international patent filings via it's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in four categories of green energy technologies. These covered:

  • alternative energy production, notably renewable energy technologies;
  • energy conservation technologies;
  • green transportation; and
  • nuclear power generation.

The data are based on the WIPO International Patent Classification (IPC) Green Inventory, which tracks patents related to green energy innovation.

Among the findings: PCT applications – one measure of innovative activity – containing at least one IPC green energy code, grew to 16,940 applications in 2019, a 1.3 percent increase from 2018 (Annex PDF,  Annex). This lags a peak of 17,880 in 2016 and represents just over 6% of the total number of PCT applications filed in 2019.

Climate change has far-reaching effects for all of us and innovation in green tech sectors will be key to successfully addressing this global challenge. Policymakers, businesses, academic institutions, inventors around the world: Let’s all work together to create a green-tech innovation surge that meets the requirements of our times.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry

Other findings include...

  • "Efficient use technologies" have increased by 9% since 2013, driven by energy conservation technologies and transportation-related innovation.
  • Overall green innovation growth has been hindered by a drop in alternative energy technologies, which fell 18% since 2013.
  • The top five origins in 2019 (Japan, China, U.S., Germany, and the Republic of Korea) accounted for over 76% of all PCT green applications.
Find out more (Annex) PDF,  Annex

About World IP Day

In 2000, WIPO's member states designated April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World Intellectual Property Day with the aim of increasing general understanding of intellectual property (IP). Since then, World IP Day has offered a unique opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to consider how IP contributes to the flourishing of music and the arts and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world.

About WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the United Nations agency that serves the world’s innovators and creators, ensuring that their ideas travel safely to the market and improve lives everywhere.

We do so by providing services that enable creators, innovators and entrepreneurs to protect and promote their intellectual property (IP) across borders and acting as a forum for addressing cutting-edge IP issues. Our IP data and information guide decisionmakers the world over. And our impact-driven projects and technical assistance ensure IP benefits everyone, everywhere.

For more information, please contact the News and Media Division at WIPO:
  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
  • E-mail