IP implications for the transition to a Low-carbon economy and society

In order of importance, the ‘energy supply’, ‘transport’, ‘business’ and ‘residential’ categories are the four most important CO 2 emitters. It is not our purpose to know everything that is to be known about each one of the selected case studies. Our purpose is to gain a cross-sector understanding of how different contexts relate to our research question. Bearing this in mind, a maximum variation sampling approach seems to point at the need to pursue the residential, transport and food industry categories as case studies. Such sampling exercise can be considered ‘quantitative’ in nature as we are using mainly statistical information. Our selection of case studies will take us a long way into answering our research question. The sketches below are provisional and not to be taken more seriously than necessary as they only help the purpose of giving speculative ideas about final outcomes.

A – Road transport (engine technology)

  The purpose of this case study is to investigate low carbon-technology in cars with specific attention to the IP of engine technology and how this affects consumer’s choice and behaviour. The study will include things such as business initiatives to produce cleaner cars, what governments are willing to require companies to comply with, and also how consumer preferences have had the ability to drive (or not) clean automotive innovation. Two electric car makers in Norfolk will be instrumental in investigating what already seem (from initial conversations with people) controversial aspects of the industry at a local level.

B- Local foods and brands in supermarkets

The information collected and being processed at present regarding this case study includes how IP related promotion of inputs to agriculture affects perceptions about food, food consumption, local and global systems of food production. Organisations holding important IP portfolios seem to have also acquired the ability to influence how key organisations such as NFU, EFFP, FSA, HGCA (to name just a few) shape policy and establish relationships with other organisations, including research, government organisations and the media. It also includes farmer innovation and market diversification through local brands. A perceivable split is taking place between small farmers and medium size farmers supplying big supermarket chains. IP struggles over labelling are an issue, as is also an issue the local identity, origin and perceived legitimacy of local foodstuffs (in terms of such things as food miles still) rather than sustainability.

C- The low-carbon household

This case has been looking at energy efficiency in household goods and appliances. It is also looking into behavioural effectiveness. They way interviews have been occurring we might take into account the affordability of building and insulating materials because of IP costs and investment and recoup related priorities. This case study has the potential to integrate the three case studies together.