IP Docketers

Intellectual Property

The life cycle of intellectual property and sustainability

Businesses worldwide are under increasing pressure to prioritise ethical behaviour and “sustainably” run their operations. Intellectual property (IP) Investors, clients, employees, or business partners may scrutinise a company, and this pressure frequently calls for clearly defined goals and simple methods of tracking success.

Demonstrating sustainable operations through reporting, decision-making, and marketing is crucial to building the correct perception. The proposed Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in the EU, for instance, would enlarge the reporting requirements to include all large corporations and those listed on regulated markets. This rule would impose more stringent disclosure requirements and require audits of publicly available data and the digital tagging of data. Additionally, there are voluntary initiatives: The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of uniform disclosures on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, were approved by more than 70 firms last year. These multinational corporations agreed to implement the agreed indicators into their published documents in partnership with the World Economic Forum (including annual and sustainability reports).


BP, Dell, Heineken, HSBC, IBM, Mitsubishi, Petronas, SAP, Unilever, and Wipro were among the first 70 signatories. It’s important to note that corporations participate in various industries, from heavy industry and energy production to consumer goods, financial services, and entertainment. Many big and small firms welcome the emphasis on sustainability, and many even discover that it is consistent with initiatives they had already committed. It may, however, also force you to make uneasy or tough choices about pricing, investments, supply chains, or the strategic course of your organisation.

Companies can no longer afford to disregard ESG objectives.

It can be a potent approach to show that a company is meeting expectations.

Sustainability should be integrated holistically into (IP) intellectual property strategy and management since IP is essential to the success and promotion of innovation and creativity. That entails taking environmental and social concerns into account at every stage of the IP life cycle, including research and development (R&D) for discovering and developing new inventions, acquiring exclusive rights, portfolio management and valuation, and commercialisation. Even though it might seem complicated, there are many places where we can incorporate sustainability into a solid IP strategy. Additionally, as our white paper demonstrates, using IP can be a potent approach to show stakeholders what a company is doing to safeguard the environment and how it is meeting expectations.

Describe sustainability.

ESG issues, such as reducing carbon emissions, embracing equitable opportunity, and fostering boardroom accountability, are a focus for many organisations today. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations provide the most valuable and thorough description.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, endorsed by all UN member states in 2015, is centred on the SDGs. The Agenda’s goals include everything from eradicating poverty and lowering inequality to enhancing healthcare and education. Additionally, there is an emphasis on advancing the economy while combating climate change and protecting our forests and oceans. As a result, sustainability covers environmental considerations (such as decreasing excessive packaging, switching to cleaner fuels, and recycling) and a broader understanding that encompasses responsible resource use, effective operations, and delivering long-term value to society. This second aspect examines corporate conscientiousness from various angles, including social, financial, and human.

Regarding the first element, we are witnessing increased businesses promoting eco-friendly goods and services, such as automakers moving to electric vehicles, energy providers investing in renewable energy sources, and stores offering reusable bags and other containers. This change depends on developing new technology or optimising current procedures to make them more effective and less wasteful. IP plays a role in encouraging these inventions and bringing them to market. IP professionals should lead this transformation, for instance, by conducting portfolio analyses that highlight the ecological advantages of current technology, gathering valuable ideas, and mapping their IP assets against green criteria.

A sound IP Intellectual property strategy should incorporate sustainability.

Virtually every stage of the IP life cycle can benefit from the addition of sustainability factors.

Although the second component is more complicated, IP plays a big part. Can license IP rights for technological transfers to produce consistent value. One example is delivering innovation to new geographic markets or client groups. By allowing for new uses for pre-existing inventions, whether a drug is saving, a manufacturing method is incorporated into a consumer good, or a software programme is a chance for a new use, creative licensing can help ensure discoveries find full service.

Investments in innovation and IP protection can offer long-lasting benefits to employees, clients, and investors, resulting in a financially stable and socially supportive company that is suited for success and makes a constructive contribution to society.


Download our white paper to learn how to create and manage a sustainable IP portfolio and how IP may support a company’s broader sustainability objectives.

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