Intellectual Property Rights and the Indian Renewable Energy Industry

calendar27 Sep, 2023
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes
Intellectual Property Rights and the Indian Renewable Energy Industry

According to the Innovation index, around 15% of India’s high-value patents are dedicated to green technology. The Indian Patent Office obtained 1,140 applications for patents in the field of high-value green inventions in 2013. India has a long history of producing low-carbon environmental products and services (LCEGS). It ranks as the third-highest LCEGS revenues in Asia (second highest as of percentage of GDP). This energy shift to renewable energy and less carbon-intensive processes necessitates massive time and financial expenditures to turn current technologies into emerging technological alternatives.

Protecting IP rights also ensures that a right holder’s innovation is not used unauthorized by a third party and that it may be safely used by only the legitimate holder and with his authorization. Many goods based on India’s solar cells and wind turbines are evidence of significant investment in the renewable energy sector over the last decade. Green technology innovation has also expanded dramatically in recent years, as seen by multiple patent applications.

According to the WIPO Magazine, published in March 2020, Japan topped the list of leaders for the overall amount of applications for patents for renewable in general, as well as solar and fuel cell technologies, from 2010 to 2019. The United States leads in geothermal technology, while Denmark leads in wind energy, followed by Germany.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy derived from natural sources or processes that renew themselves on a human timeframe, such as sunshine, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy is frequently used to generate electricity, transport energy, heat and cool air and water, and provide remote (off-grid) energy services.

In layman’s terms, an energy source that is renewable is something that never runs out or is infinite, such as the sun. India is one of the countries that produce a significant amount of energy from sources that are renewable.

The most widely used renewable energy sources are:

Importance of intellectual property rights in renewable energy industry

The global problem of mitigating climate change has heightened interest in systems that promote the development and acceptance of innovative technology. Because of the recent strong economic expansion, policy emphasis has shifted to the importance of transfer of technology and development of technology in supporting the deployment of clean technologies in countries that are not typically on the technological frontier.

Increasing the standards of living in those countries to levels that are satisfying without a significant amount of energy and environmental innovation would obviously have a negative impact on global warming. Furthermore, fast expansion necessitates significant novel investment, and novel investment provides a potential for significant technological advancement. Without innovation, transitioning to a greener economy would be extremely difficult and costly.

Patents in renewable energy industry

In terms of examination criteria, patent applications pertaining to renewable or green technologies are evaluated using the same substantial analysis or assessment as ordinary applications, namely inventiveness, novelty, and industrial applicability. However, the patent applicant still confronts challenges in obtaining a patent swiftly.

Countries have recognized the importance of energy from renewable sources and have moved to using environmentally friendly alternatives to satisfy their energy needs. India is the very first country to establish a new and renewable energy ministry[1]. Renewable energy is mentioned in several program and policy frameworks in India, including the:

  • National Electricity Policy
  • National Tariff Policy
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission, Accelerated depreciation (AD)
  • Generation Based Incentive (GBI)
  • National Offshore Wind Energy Policy

Trade secrets in renewable energy industry

Trade secrets play an important part in the spread of green technology in every country. Trade secrets are critical elements of information that are either unpatentable or effectively kept as trade secrets instead of patenting. It is always monetary significant. By creating a safe environment for the sharing of confidential data, trade secrets play an important role in protecting the routes for expertise exchanges. For example, in response to Chinese enterprises stealing trade secrets of renewable energy businesses like Solar World and American Superconductor Corporation, the US government has taken action.

Trade secrets usually preserve unwritten information about the implementation, advancement, and adaptation of patented technology. Green technology trade secrets are expected to be critical for both developed and developing countries that must adopt environmentally friendly technologies to domestic conditions.

Businesses that do not have good trade secret protection may find themselves devoting significant resources on ensuring the physical safety of their trade secrets instead of investing in technological innovation. R&D spending and increased trade secret protection is recognized to have a positive link.

Advantages of intellectual property rights in renewable energy industry

Expansion of Market

Companies that have a strong intellectual property protection can easily expand their businesses in international markets as well. Intellectual property protection helps in facilitating export on a large scale of the technologies in the renewable energy industry and can ease the expansion of the business in global market.

Competitive Advantages

One of the main advantages of intellectual property rights is the competitive advantages that come along with it. Protecting IP rights gives a competitive advantage to renewable energy industries as well. Having IP rights helps the renewable energy industry to protect their innovations in the field. IP rights provide a strong foothold to the renewable energy industry.

Encouraging Innovation

Intellectual property rights give the inventor of the work exclusive rights to that particular work, along with monetary benefits, which in return encourages the innovation also. Individuals and the companies are encouraged to invest more in the development and research in renewable energy industry. More efficient technologies are encourages as a result which leads to improvements in renewable energy generation.

Attracting Investment

IP protection is one of the main reasons on why investors confidently invest in the projects. IP rights provide protection to renewable energy inventions and its research and development, this attracts more investors as the venture is supported and assured by a legal right.


Cross-licensing is one the most used ways to develop technologies in current time. Intellectual property rights can help in these kinds of collaborations between two parties who have similar interests.

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer is facilitated by intellectual property rights. Patented renewable energy technologies can license other companies their technology without the fear of getting there technology stolen, as it is already protected by IPR. This helps in spreading the technologies of the renewable energy more promptly.

Protection from Infringement

Renewable energy innovators can protect their technologies and inventions from infringement by the help of IPR. Investment made in the renewable energy projects.


India has one of the world’s greatest and strongest renewable capacity growth programs. Renewable energy sources account for a tiny but rapidly expanding portion of the global energy mix. The global problem of mitigating climate change has raised interest in systems that support the development and deployment of new technologies, sometimes known as green technologies or renewable energy technologies. The importance of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in supporting green technology innovation is becoming increasingly significant. The obsession with intellectual property rights is old and continues to this day. IPRS promote innovation, motivate investment in the development and marketing of new innovations, and disseminate technology and other information in socially beneficial ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are intellectual property rights in renewable energy?

Intellectual properties like patents and trade secrets are used in renewable energy.

What are the 4 types of intellectual property rights?

The 4 types of intellectual property rights are trademark, patents, copyright and trade secrets.

What are the intellectual property rights?

The term “intellectual property rights” (IPR) refers to the legal privileges granted to the inventor or creator to safeguard their work for a predetermined amount of time.

What is IP in the energy sector?

For energy companies, intellectual property can be related to a variety of things, such as finding and developing alternative energy sources, and refining, separating, converting, and treating energy products.

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