Guest Post: Gaston Kroub on Two International Clean Tech Conferences

December 9th, 2012 by Gaston Kroub Leave a reply »

Part I:  Guangzhou, China

Cleantech innovation continues apace, despite the general economic malaise gripping ‎much of the world. Two countries that are heavily invested in renewable energy ‎development are China and Israel.

Despite their extreme differences in population, ‎size, and access to natural resources, these two countries have forced their way onto ‎the global Cleantech innovation stage. Not surprisingly, and as previously noted by ‎this blog, both countries have instituted expedited green patent programs, amongst ‎other policy initiatives aimed at fostering Cleantech innovation. ‎

Both countries recently hosted Cleantech conferences, where I was privileged to speak ‎on “Green” intellectual property issues, and advocate for increased awareness of those ‎issues on the part of the Cleantech business community.  

The first conference I attended was BIT’s 2nd New Energy Forum in Guangzhou, China, in mid-October.  One is ‎immediately struck by the tremendous economic vitality exhibited in Guangzhou, with ‎numerous ongoing construction projects neighboring a like number of recently ‎completed facilities.

With such rapid development on display, there clearly is a market ‎for sustainable products to use in construction in China. And at the conference itself, ‎numerous personalities from the academic and business worlds discussed the ‎importance of an engaged China in advancing the development and utilization of ‎sustainable products and services. ‎

Considering the number of attendees that I spoke to who were there on behalf of ‎various departments of the Chinese national and provincial government industries, it is ‎fair to assume that developing a viable Cleantech sector is an important initiative for ‎China.

And I noticed an increasing awareness among conference attendees of the ‎importance of intellectual property rights in fostering innovation, and for allowing ‎China to continue to compete globally. Even Chinese manufacturers are become ‎increasingly aware of the need to provide a safe home for foreign know-how, so that ‎innovative Cleantech companies will look to China as a manufacturing partner for their ‎products. ‎

Of course, many in China are sensitive to the reputation of their country in the global business ‎community.

Some officials I talked to were very invested in the ongoing trade dispute ‎regarding solar panels manufactured in China, and the allegations of price dumping ‎that are being pursued in some of China’s target export markets, including the USA. ‎While that dispute looks like it will be an ongoing one, the conference made clear that ‎China is interested in developing its Cleantech sector, and increasing its presence in ‎the Cleantech community worldwide.

It remains to be seen how tightly China will ‎adhere to enforcing intellectual property rights domestically, and whether Chinese ‎companies will act responsibly regarding intellectual property rights in foreign markets ‎as well.‎

Gaston Kroub is a partner in the New York office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP.  Gaston serves as the co-chair of the Greentech Committee of the NYSBA’s IP Section and has been accredited as a LEED Green Associate.  Gaston is a registered patent attorney whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and counseling.


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