The Global Innovation Commons

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The Global Innovation Commons is a research institution based in Charlottesville, Virginia.


  1.  "The Global Innovation Commons"

Global Innovation Commons (G.I.C.)

A patent is a contract between an inventor and the public. In order to promote and reward innovation, the contract states that if an idea is (i) novel, (ii) non-obvious, and (iii) reduced to practice, the inventor or innovator, upon registration and full public disclosure of the innovation is thus provided a time limited monopoly to use the idea in commerce for one 20 year term. Under worldwide recognized trade laws, an applicant must file, within one year of initial filing, in each additional jurisdiction for which they want patent protection. After the initial one year period, no additional jurisdictional protection can be achieved and the technology is generically available to be developed by anyone.

Due to changes in patent law in the early 1980’s that effectively removed the need to reduce a stated invention to demonstrated practice, American, European, and Japanese corporations started a race to patent broad technology claims in fields ranging from hydroelectric power to biochips and fuel cells. While millions of patents were filed and issued, most of these ideas were never commercialized or even proven to be achievable. Moreover, of the “valid” patents issued in that time frame most did not seek coverage in markets besides the United States, Europe and Japan. Therefore, design solutions to the problems of today have been sitting stagnant, unused and are now perpetually free from patent protection. To be clear, patents that were filed before 1990 have now expired and the information contained in the claims are available for immediate deployment in the public domain as a freely useable open-source. It is from this tremendous well of IP resources that the Global Innovation Commons (G.I.C.) was created.

While the open-source solutions available to the public cover every sector and initiative on the planet, the G.I.C. specifically covers the fields of Clean Energy, Water, Agriculture and Health Care. Within these fields, the G.I.C. assembles hundreds of thousands of these open source innovations, most in the form of patents, which have either been abandoned, expired, disallowed, or are unprotected in relevant markets. People no longer need to reinvent the wheel by starting the research and development process from scratch. We can conserve resources by including publicly available solutions from the commons to deploy best of breed technologies.