EPO supports new platform on renewable energy innovation

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10 July 2015

Policy makers and other energy sector players now have consolidated access to the world's largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patent documents, thanks to a new online platform launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in co-operation with the EPO. Also known as INSPIRE, the International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy platform is the first and most complete solution of its kind, helping users locate, search and analyse more than two million patent documents and 400 international standards relating to renewable energy and carbon mitigation technologies.

"The INSPIRE platform demonstrates the role of the patent system in supporting innovation in renewable energy, encouraging research and development in technologies to serve modern energy needs while addressing climate change," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "INSPIRE also showcases the role of patent information, which provides up-to-date information on technologies and their inventors to advise policy makers on the renewable energy sector."

The result of collaboration between IRENA, the EPO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), INSPIRE has multiple functionalities:

  • The patents section contains information on over two million patent documents relating to carbon mitigation technologies from the world's most comprehensive global patent statistics database, PATSTAT, and links to the world's most comprehensive public online search tool for patent documents, Espacenet, including its dedicated "Y02" patent classification scheme for carbon mitigation technologies.
  • The standards section enables users to search through a database of more than 400 internationally used standards and generate reports as needed. It also explains what standards are, how they can be used and why they are important for quality assurance, investor confidence and technology trading.

The combination of resources on INSPIRE will help users analyse various aspects of renewable energy policy and innovation. It can help indicate the effectiveness of policies to promote renewable energy innovation through the analysis of trends in patent activity. Users can also perform metadata analysis of technology trends, comparing development within, or between, different technologies. For example, the number of patents filed for renewable energy technology has increased annually by more than 20 per cent in recent years, while the average increase for other technologies is around 6 per cent.

"The INSPIRE platform provides insight on where renewable energy technology is developing the quickest, and which countries and companies are active in which technologies," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "It helps bring together vast collections of renewable energy patent documents and standards, which can foster collaboration between innovators, spur improvement through product comparison and benchmarking and help identify partners, matching domestic energy needs to innovative energy solutions."

"By linking the technical information in IEC International Standards to practical applications in renewable energy, INSPIRE will be a precious resource for energy regulators," said IEC General Secretary & CEO Frans Vreeswijk. "It will assist policy makers in finding relevant international standards faster and more efficiently. It will also help educate stakeholders about the strategic role of international standards and conformity assessment for the cost-efficient expansion of renewable energy generation."

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