Concentrating on sustainable patenting as an indicator for inventions in sustainable, green technologies, this study first presents the overall development in sustainable patenting at the European Patent Office. We then analyze green patenting in Germany by focusing on the role of small and young firms in the generation of green patents. Our results show that the contribution of SMEs to green patenting is similar to their contribution to overall patenting What might be the contribution to the central questions of the wwwforEurope project? First of all, young and small firms might not able to drive the technology development towards a more sophisticated use of energy resources and renewable energies. Like in most other fields of technology the direction of technical change is determined by established large firms. Hence, under the current framework of innovation and industrial policies, the development of the “more entrepreneurial economy” will probably not form forerunners on the ways towards a new growth path. Secondly, private sector’s production of invention activities became not stronger directed towards technologies which aim at production, storage, distribution, and management of new energy technologies compared to other fields of technology. Given the societal need for new energy technologies the paper speaks in favor of government regulation, invention and incentives to stimulate research, development, and implementation new energy technologies. However, we do not find arguments that such stimuli should favor SMEs or young firms.. Keywords: Green

Aschhoff, Birgit, Georg Licht und Paula Schliessler (2013), Who drives smart growth? The contribution of small and young firms to inventions in sustainable technologies, WWWforEurope project Working Paper no 47, Brussel. Download


Aschhoff, Birgit
Licht, Georg
Schliessler, Paula


Green patents, sustainable patenting, SMEs, young firms