Kevin Cadwell Discusses Energy IP with IPWatchdog and InsideCounsel

IPWatchdog has quoted Akin Gump intellectual property partner Kevin Cadwell in the article “The Future of CleanTech Patents,” which reports that the number of U.S. patents granted for clean energy technology has been declining of late. In this article, and in a similar one on InsideCounsel, “When the U.S. Economy Shifts, Energy Patents Will Speed Up,” Cadwell spoke about why energy patents are at a standstill and the importance of energy IP in the U.S. economy. He also discussed the slowdown in energy IP litigation, which he attributed to the decline in oil prices, a slowdown in overall patent lawsuits and the fact that many energy IP suits were customer suits that weren’t ripe for more extended litigation.

As for the future of CleanTech, Cadwell predicted it will correlate with a simultaneous interest in energy security. “Irrespective of policy goals relating to CleanTech, technology relating to the security aspect will likely spill over to CleanTech,” he said.

And while the Trump administration has indicated a preference for fossil fuels, the article reports that states and cities are picking up the slack and focusing on playing a larger role to incentivize and expand CleanTech. “In view of the falling prices of wind, solar, natural gas and other CleanTech, we should see a rise in this technology making its way to non-traditional industries, such as commercial real estate (office buildings, shopping malls, and large housing complexes),” said Cadwell.

Turning to energy patents, Cadwell thinks there will be greater activity there once the economy picks up and oil prices rise. Until then, however, the uncertainty with the current administration has brought things to a standstill.

“Right now, a lot of people are waiting to see what is going to happen…what are this administration’s energy goals, are they more conventional or alternative energy based?” Cadwell added. “So, there is a pause as we see what direction regulations (or deregulations) will go, at which point patent owners will have more clarity and be able to determine the best direction for themselves.”

Energy and technology, Cadwell said, are two of the biggest economic drivers, and are currently intertwined not just because of the IP issues with renewables, alternative energy sources, green energy, etc. He pointed out, however, that “technology and use of technology for extracting conventional oil is paramount.”