Intellectual Property Analysis of Oasys Water, Inc. and Modern Water, Inc.
The future security of the world’s freshwater supply is uncertain at best. With the world’s burgeoning population pushing the demand threshold of a limited freshwater supply, it is projected that one-third of all humans will face severe and chronic water shortages by the year 2025.
Companies around the world are making significant investments in the development of such technologies. Water desalination has emerged as a preferred solution to water shortages, particularly as technological advances make desalination processes an increasingly affordable and feasible option.
Oasys Water and Modern Water are two companies presenting technologies that claim to improve upon existing water desalination processes. Both companies have patented a process to produce potable water that uses forward, or “manipulated,” osmosis—a more natural osmotic process requiring less pressure (and thus less energy), cheaper equipment, and fewer operating costs.
While the proposed technological improvements by Oasys’ and Modern Water have the potential to reduce the financial and energy costs of desalination, M·CAM’s intellectual property analysis reveals significant un-cited precedent innovation that raise the question as to whether their systems provide true innovation over existing osmotic systems. Much of this precedent innovation was found in the public domain.
Investors and consumers alike may find cause to call into question both the moral and economic efficacy of enforcing patents that protect technologies otherwise freely available in the public domain, particularly in the context of a global crisis of basic necessities like potable water.
Systems like the Global Innovation Commons (GIC) that harness these open-source innovations are proving more attractive as platforms especially capable of addressing international problems. With the ability to generate collaborative innovation, production, and procurement of technologies in the public domain, the GIC presents an important opportunity to address the global water crisis with leading technologies promptly developed and equitably available in the markets that need them the most.ShareThis