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Eco-Patents Commons Hits Milestone with Addition of Dow, Fuji Xerox

The Eco-Patent Commons, a project launched nearly two years ago by IBM in partnership with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and other corporate partners, today has added five additional patents covering environmental technologies to the public domain.

The news brings two more companies, Dow and Fuji Xerox, into the Commons; each company released two patents for public use. In addition to those four patents, Xerox added another patent to the Commons.

"By making available their patents in this way, by sharing the results of their investment in research and development, companies are showing real leadership in sustainable development," said Bjørn Stigson, the president of the WBCSD.

The two patents contributed by Fuji Xerox today cover the treatment of wastewater; the technology uses a surfactant or polysilicato-iron to coagulate and separate specific chemicals from wastewaster, reducing the amount of coagulant and the sludge that results from the process.

Dow's two pledges involve new methods of creating olefins, a building block of packaging, electronics, adhesives and other products. The patents allow for a more efficient way of creating olefins by extending the usable life of the catalysts and reducing the waste involved in the process.
The patent added to the Commons today by Xerox covers a technology to make magnetic refrigeration less environmentally damaging. It involves the use of a magnetized solution in refrigeration that can replace ozone-depleting refrigerants and cut the energy used by compressors in refrigerators.

With the five new additions, the Commons now includes 100 IP-free technologies; the full searchable database is available on the WBCSD website.

The Eco-Patent Commons was launched in January 2008 under the guidance of the WBCSD, working in partnership with IBM -- which in 2008 earned the most patents in the U.S. -- and a host of other companies, including Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony. Since the launch, additional companies have joined the Commons, including Xerox, Dupont and Bosch in September 2008 and Ricoh and Taisei in March 2009. Timed to the launch of the Commons in 2008, managing editor Matthew Wheeland spoke with IBM sustainability chief Wayne Balta about the development of the project.

Membership in the Commons is open to any business or individual patent-holder willing to pledge a patent to the public domain. For more details, visit the Eco-Patent Commons website at

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