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Ricoh and Taisei join Eco-Patent Commons

Companies pledging patents with environmental benefits to the public domain

22 Mar 2009 -- Ricoh Company, Ltd., a global leader in office solutions, and Taisei Corporation, a leading engineering construction company, have joined the Eco-Patent Commons, a first-of-a-kind business effort launched by IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to help the environment by pledging environmentally beneficial patents to the public domain.

The patents being pledged by Ricoh and Taisei include:

In addition to the patents contributed by the newest members of the Eco-Patent Commons, DuPont, who joined the initiative and pledged four patents last fall, has pledged seven more patents for refrigerant materials that could reduce ozone depletion to preserve the environment.

"The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is delighted that more companies have decided to join this initiative," said Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD. "By making their patents available in this way, companies are helping in areas such as energy efficiency and conservation, waste reduction and recycling. These latest pledges show that, even in financially difficult times, business has a strong commitment to contributing to a sustainable world."

The Eco-Patent Commons was founded on the commitment that anyone who wants to bring environmental benefits to market can use these patents to protect the environment and enable collaboration between businesses that foster new innovations.

Since the launch of the Eco-Patent Commons in January 2008, nearly a hundred patents have been pledged by nine member companies representing a variety of industries worldwide: Bosch, DuPont, IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes, Ricoh, Sony, Taisei and Xerox. Many of them have been directly contacted about their patents. For example, Yale University has used one of the pledged patents by IBM to substitute a toxic developer with an environmentally preferable solvent mixture of alcohol and water for their quantum computing device research.

Patents pledged to the Eco-Patent Commons may involve innovations directly related to environmental solutions or may be innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution also provides an environment benefit, such as pollution prevention or the more efficient use of materials or energy.

Membership in the Eco-Patent Commons is open to all individuals and companies willing to pledge their patents. The selection and submission of each organization's patents for pledging is at the organization's discretion. The pledged portfolio and the instructions on how to become a member are available on a dedicated, public Web site hosted by the WBCSD at http://www.wbcsd.org/web/epc (link resides outside of ibm.com).

Member companies and the WBCSD invite other interested companies to become members of the Eco-Patent Commons and participate in this initiative promoting innovation and collaboration to help protect the planet.