So it turns out that the Eco-Patent Commons, which I wrote about back in January, isn't just another empty-handed cooperative industry effort.
Three new companies, Bosch, DuPont and Xerox, have joined the effort and another, Sony, has contributed an additional patent to the community.
Here's what is newly added:
- Xerox is contributing 11 different patents that are focused on stripping toxic waste out of soil and water. What's different about its technology and approach, called 2-Phase Extraction, is that the gunk can be taken out of contaminated groundwater in months as opposed to years. Xerox estimate that it cuts about 80 percent of the time out of the process. Here's a more detailed description.
- DuPont's contribution includes four patents. One of them turns some non-recyclable plastics (those used in packaging, appliances or durable consumer goods as examples) into fertilizers. The others are related to Lux, a DuPont technology based on a microorganism that facilitates pollution detection. (Essentially, it lights up when there's bad stuff around.) This kinda esoteric Web site describes how it works.
- Bosch's work focuses on technologies to reduce fuel consumption and emissions and for converting waste heat from vehicles back into energy. In fact, it is contributing 45 patents in all. Here's more information on them from Bosch's environmental portal.
- The new Sony patents cover how to recycle optical media more efficiently, by stripping out the pigment and metal from the reflective film. This link is a resource with information about the various things Sony is working on to help reduce the environmental impact of the various technologies it creates.
You can find all the patents that live within this open source community at a Web site hosted by one of the founding members, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The other founding members are IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony. IBM reports that at least three patent have been used by entities other than their original creators since the launch.