Let’s Thank These Firms for Contributing to the Low Carbon Patent Pledge

Rich firms and persons in a America pay too little in taxes, and yet at the same time they get too few thanks. It is perfectly consistent to believe both of these things. I personally suspect the more they are thanked, the less they will resist paying higher taxes. Whether you believe this or not, we should thank firms and persons when they do the right thing, and I’m happy to say I learned yesterday of firms we need to thank.

My associate Jorge Contreras, Professor of Law, recently ran a workshop on the Low Carbon Patent Pledge. Perhaps many others are behind this effort; forgive me not being able to thank all of you. This is similar to Open COVID Pledge, which was also instigated by Prof. Contreras, perhaps with prodding from Alexander James Phillips and James Butler of Helpful Engineering, a US non-profit which I serve as a board member. In fact Prof. Contreras is an expert on patent pledges. But I would like most of all to thank the companies which placed patents under the Low Carbon Patent Pledge, which means that others can use those inventions free of charge and with no formal transaction so long as they are using them to generate green energy. (I am not a lawyer, please refer to the Pledge itself for details.)

This means that at the time of this writing:

deserve our thanks, because they have contributed a few hundred valuable patents to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions in order to fight global warming.

I’ve glanced over the contributed patents, and judge them to be significant. Generally Americans give too much mystique to patents. They are generally less valuable and interesting than people suppose (I have two patents myself from 20 years ago, one of which I sold.) Public Invention never seeks patents. Nonetheless, these firms have made a significant effort and potentially a significant monetary gift to the world by placing these patents under the Pledge.

Please join me in thanking them—by sharing this post to them or to your friends. Or, better yet, write your own little note, and let the know about it. If we reward these firms for doing this, perhaps more firms will also be so generous.

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