GreenTech, patents, and trademarks

Environmental innovations comprise new technical processes, measures and methods for reducing environmental pollution or restoring already damaged ecosystems. They aim to reduce the ecological footprint of companies, consumers, sectors, regions and countries or to increase their handprint. Environmental innovations are diverse and involve new technologies, products, processes, services and business models.

The technologies behind environmental innovations are also very diverse and affect almost all industries and sectors. Roughly speaking, six lead markets can be distinguished:

  • Environmentally friendly generation, storage and distribution of energy
  • Energy efficiency in production processes, buildings and appliances
  • Raw material and material efficiency and renewable raw materials
  • Sustainable mobility
  • Circular economy (waste collection, transportation, separation, recycling, landfilling)
  • Sustainable water management

As with other innovations, the question of intellectual property protection also arises with environmental innovations. In principle, both formal (e.g. patents, trademarks and design rights) and informal protective measures (e.g. secrecy) can be considered. However, the role of IP rights in environmental innovations is controversial due to the great importance of environmental innovations for society (see e.g. Castaldi et al., 2024).

  • Holistic and comprehensive approach to identify and evaluate environmental innovations across different technologies, sectors and innovation objects
  • Combination of different data sources: e.g. patent data, trademark data, data on design rights, publication data and web mining
  • Use of quantitative, objective and replicable methods
  • By using state-of-the-art AI or NLP methods, texts can also be analyzed and interpreted using quantitative approaches

Use cases

Identification of environmental innovations

Environmental innovations are diverse and involve new technologies, products, processes, services and business models. Environmental innovations can be identified with the help of patent and trademark data. The European patent office (EPO) and the European union intellectual property office (EUIPO) have published classifications for this purpose. We apply these classifications and use patent and trademark data to identify environmental innovations. We can differentiate between different innovation objects, innovation goals and technologies.

Ecological impact of environmental innovations

In many cases, the goal of environmental innovation is to improve a company's carbon footprint. We combine information on the environmental patents of a company with information on the CO2 emissions of the same company (if available) and measure the eco-impact of environmental patents. Such an eco-impact can be reported as part of sustainability reporting or be used internally. We can carry out similar eco impact analyses at industry, sector, region and country level.

Messung von "Greenwashing"

Companies sometimes give themselves a more symbolic green image. That is, they present themselves as more environmentally friendly than is the case in reality. This is known as “greenwashing”. Such behavior can be measured by comparing the image or appearance of a company with its objective ecological “footprint” or “handprint”. Such a comparison can be made with the help of patent, trademark, emission and web data.

CleanTech investments

Companies and financial investors are increasingly investing in CleanTech. We identify attractive investment targets with the help of patent, trademark and web data. We also determine the eco-impact of CleanTech innovations and the associated investments in combination with emissions data. Potential clients are industrial companies looking for attractive start-ups, banks and financial investors, in particular impact investors.