HP Adds Three Green Patents to Public Domain 'Commons'

GENEVA, Switzerland — Hewlett Packard has become the latest company to release some of its intellectual property to the public good, with three green patents added to the Eco-Patent Commons today.

The Commons is an initiative managed by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development to encourage firms to share their innovations that have environmental benefits.

The three patents added to the Commons by HP are:

• A convenient self-contained battery recycling station that will encourage consumers to exchange their used batteries for new ones or for credit;
• A weld process monitoring system that will reduce the resource and energy consumption associated with bad welds on assembly lines;
• A process that eliminates the need for anti-oxidant metal coatings (such as gold) during certain stages of microchip and circuit board assembly

"We are very pleased that HP has joined this initiative and made multiple patents available," Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD, said in a statement. "The premise of the Commons is that the free sharing of these patents leads to new collaborations and innovation aimed at helping others become more eco-efficient and/or operate in a more sustainable way." The Commons were launched in January 2008 with patents from IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony. Since then, Xerox, DuPont and Bosch contributed patents, followed by Ricoh and Taisei in March 2009. Prior to HP's addition, Dow, Fuji and Xerox all contributed patents in late 2009.