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Hitachi joins Eco-Patent Commons

More than 100 environmentally beneficial patents now in the public domain

25 Jul 2011 -- Hitachi, Ltd., has joined the Eco-Patent Commons, a unique business initiative designed to foster eco-efficiency and environmental sustainability through the pledging of environmentally beneficial patents to the public domain. The Eco-Patent Commons was launched by IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in January 2008.

Hitachi pledged a patent that promotes the cost effective recycling of reusable product parts. It can generate significant potential cost savings for companies as current conventional product manufacturing processes do not take into account disassembling and replacing processes, or place them in a single coherent system. The patented technology allows companies to achieve these cost and recycling benefits by sharing information among factories (for production , recovery, and recycling), automatically generating disassembly procedures, and transferring regeneration cost billing information.

"We are delighted that Hitachi has joined this initiative," said Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD. "The Commons is based on the premise that by sharing patents freely, new opportunities for collaboration and innovation will open up. At the same time it will help organizations operate more sustainably."

Since the launch in January 2008, over 100 patents have been made available that benefit the environment in areas such as energy efficiency and conservation, waste reduction and recycling.

Patents pledged to the Eco-Patent Commons involve innovations directly related to environmental solutions. They can also involve innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environment benefit such as pollution prevention or more efficient use of materials or energy. The contributing companies represent a variety of industries worldwide and include: Bosch, Dow, DuPont, Fuji Xerox, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes, Ricoh, Sony, Taisei and Xerox.

Eco-Patent Commons membership is open to all individuals and companies willing to pledge their patents with selection and submission at each organization's discretion. Member companies and the WBCSD regularly invite other interested companies to become members and participate in this initiative, promoting innovation and collaboration.

The pledged portfolio, and instructions on how to become a member, can be found on the Eco-Patent Commons website (link resides outside of ibm.com).