Incentivising Circular and Sustainable Innovations through Patent Law

Rosa Ballardini, Taina Pihlajarinne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The role of private property and ownership as well as exclusive rights, such as intellectual property rights (IPR), is often discussed in the context of incentivising developments of viable ‘sustainable’ innovations and practices to transit towards a more circular and sustainable future. On the one hand, IPR are important to provide the necessary incentives to innovators and businesses to move away from the traditional linear economy to a more circular one. On the other hand, IP entitlements and their interpretations, as they currently stand, do not suffice to provide the proper incentives needed to trigger the transition. This chapter addresses these shortcomings between IPR legislation and sustainability goals, via focusing in particular on one area of IPR, namely patent law. The chapter sheds light on areas where the current patent system could be further developed in order for it to better incentivise circular and more sustainable innovations and practices and pulls out several suggestions for how to trigger this change. Focus is posed on the European IP system, and concrete examples are used in particular from the biorefinery field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Waste Biorefinery
Subtitle of host publicationCircular Economy of Renewable Energy
EditorsEduardo Jacob-Lopes, Leila Queiroz Zepka, Mariany Costa Deprá
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-06562-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-06561-3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Intellectual property rights
  • patents
  • exclusive right
  • sustainable innovations
  • legal incentives

Field of science

  • Law
  • Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Food science


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