EHUD ZION WALDOKS, The Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2008
A search through the Israel Patent Office library computer revealed recently that wind and wave energy patent requests are on the rise.
While it’s not a big market, requests have jumped in the last few years. There have been 38 patent requests relating to wind turbines in the last decade, half since 2005. Regarding wave energy, there have been 34 requests since 1998, and 17 since 2005. The earliest patent requests in those fields, according to computer records, were from 1969 and 1970.
Additionally pumps and turbines and environment technologies worldwide experienced an approximately 13% growth in applications from 2006 to 2007, according to statistics provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a division of the UN working to create a balanced international intellectual property system.
Patent requests are confidential, so little can be gleaned until a patent has been granted. The numbers could also be somewhat misleading as to the actual impact on the Israeli market, because overseas inventors sometimes file patent requests in Israel to protect their ideas here.
One such overseas businessman, Aloys Wobben, CEO of wind turbine company Enercon, has received patent protection in Israel for an unusual application for his product. In 2002, he filed a request to patent an idea that emerged out of the tragedy of September 11, 2001: to protect nuclear power plants from suicide airliners by erecting wind turbines all around the plant. According to Wobben, any plane targeting a nuclear power plant would either blow itself up when a wind turbine sheared into it, or the plane would be unable to change course fast enough to hit the nuclear power plant after lifting up over the wind turbines.
According to WIPO, Israel is among the top 15 countries in patent requests. Requests from Israel have also been on the rise since 2000, according to a statistical analysis of the first quarter of 2008.