NIKE, Inc. & Creative Commons Create a System for Sharing Innovation

Over many years of working on sustainability, NIKE, Inc. has come to understand the value of collaboration and shared knowledge. Without it, companies replicate efforts, reinvent wheels and often only make incremental progress. NIKE, Inc. and collaboration nonprofit Creative Commons believe in the power of open innovation and share a vision of creating a digital platform and system that promotes the creation, sharing and adoption of technologies that have the potential to solve important global or industry-wide sustainability challenges. We call it the GreenXchange.

GreenXchange was born in conversation leading up to the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009, and will launch in 2010. By using a set of standardized, free, legal tools, patent owners can make portions of their intellectual property portfolio available under a set of terms between the current choices of "all rights reserved" and "no rights reserved." With GreenXchange patent licensing tools, patent owners open up a wide swath of technologies for research, development and innovative commercial uses. Patent users receive the rights they need to innovate, and patent owners receive credit for their works - as well as the option to receive annual licensing payments.

GreenXchange builds on a culture to create common spaces for innovative reuse, as well as standardization efforts for biological materials and scientific data. It also bridges some key gaps in the way that green technologies are developed and utilized.

Many active R&D companies create green technologies that are not core to their business: they may represent good practices shareable across a large set of companies - sometimes even including competitors - but lack the business infrastructure to make those patents available for wider use.

Existing attempts to address this problem rarely address the desires of patent owners to receive credit for their work, or the need to create sustainable revenue streams to fund new green technology development.

GreenXchange (GX) provides solutions to these issues:

  • The license tool kit requires attribution
  • It enables the creation of sustainable revenue streams that are friendly to entrepreneurs and that work for use in the developing world
  • Over time the GX will create a pool of patents available under a "some rights reserved" system, where innovators can look from the early days of research out to their markets and mark exactly what their costs will be if successful, or where companies can easily perform gap analysis and identify areas of green tech in need of collaborative investment in new technology

The GreenXchange provides an infrastructure for the goal of creating and scaling innovations focused on sustainability.