The United States’ Climate Patenting Behavior After the Paris Agreement Withdrawal Announcement

An Empirical Analysis and a Fast-Track Proposal

When the United States announced that it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, some commentators speculated whether this announcement would affect patent applications on climate technologies. This Note studies the effect of that withdrawal on patenting behavior in the U.S. by conducting a difference-in-difference analysis on U.S. patent applications on climate technologies compared to patent applications on climate technologies filed in other countries, patent applications filed on all technologies in the U.S., and patent applications filed on mechanical engineering technologies in the U.S. This Note finds that U.S. patent applications on climate technologies declined relative to these other groups. Yet, this Note does not find that the announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement caused the decline relative to other countries, nor the decline relative to all technologies in the U.S. It does find that the decline relative to mechanical engineering technologies is statistically significant, which suggests that the announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement caused this decline. Even if the announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement did not cause these declines, they do have effects on intellectual property protection in climate technologies. Accordingly, this Note proposes a program by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to address these relative declines and provides model rules for this program.

a J.D. Candidate, 2021, University of Illinois College of Law; B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology. This Note stands on the shoulders of several giants. Special thanks go out to Professor Paul J. Heald, for his supervision and mentorship. Additional thanks go out to K. Canova for her analytical advice. Further thanks go out to my family for their support of all of my writing: P. Viswanathan, S. Viswanathan, L. Viswanathan, and J. Viswanathan. And finally, a heartfelt thanks to the editors, members, and staff of the University of Illinois Law Review for their extraordinarily careful editing of this Note.

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