Business, Conservation, Green

US Department of Energy opens up its patent portfolio

The U.S. Department of Energy may very well have the key to improving the world, they have a deep patent portfolio filled with potential solutions on how to increase access to fuel, electricity and clean water.  Many of these solutions are desperately needed in poor nations, but without dedicated organizations willing to develop that technology and bring it to market these patents just sit on the books, languishing.

Well, that might change soon.  As part of President Obama’s Global Development Policy, those patents may be opened to qualified nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations.  Rather than keeping these patents in the closet, the goal is to accelerate progress throughout the word, especially in Asia and sub-Sahara Africa working with organizations that already have a presence in these nations.

Of course, licensing patents from the U.S. Department of Energy is a process fraught with pitfalls, and many companies may decide to simply keep out of it all together.   Companies that do look into this might very well be advised to hire a law firm that specializes in energy and intellectual property cases.  Some such law firms include:

Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  A juggernaut in the courtroom, Kirkland & Ellis LLP have becoming involved in a series of high-profile cases in the energy litigation space.  Lawyers Wendy Bloom and David Zott were involved with BP America in various federal and state investigations into gasoline refining, marketing, and pricing practices.  They are highly involved in patent licensing and Legal500 claims that their 300-lawyer IP team is “outstanding” and “extremely knowledgeable.”

McDermott Will & Emery.  The firm behind Yahoo’s win against Bedrock, a patent case that Google lost, McDermott Will & Emery’s Yar Chaikovsky andFay Morisseau showed that success is possible through extensive preparation and understanding of the local jury.  They are also a leading firm in the energy field, maintaining an energy practice with more than 50 lawyers in Boston, Chicago, Houston, London, New York and Washington, D.C.

With teams like this behind you, there’s no reason for large companies to not start looking into the Energy Department’s portfolio.  It’s a chance to make a lot of money and make the world a better place.




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