by: The Real Law Editorial Team
Few industries present as much promise as green
technology. And few industries are in such need of legal help. As a result,
making green products or generating energy in more efficient and
environmentally friendly ways is a mix of opportunity and confusion that any
lawyer-particularly any patent lawyer-should know more about. One particularly
interesting and relatively untapped corner of the green technology market is
Every Building Is a Unique Snowflake
Celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright suggested that
buildings should be "qualified by light, bred by native character to
environment, married to the ground." Each one should be adapted to its
particular situation. In the drive to create buildings perfectly suited to
their environments, architects and engineers are innovating like crazy,
creating structures both beautiful and strange. More and more often, they are developing entirely
new approaches to deal with the unique challenges that each project presents.
For example, a few projects have already tried out concrete that eats pollution. There are roof shingles that double as solar panels. Many innovations are specific to
the needs of one building, such as the adaptive shades that keep the Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi
cool. This emerging field of green building represents a potential bonanza of
The Golden Green Building Opportunity
Many kinds of lawyers already work in this field.
Companies can hire them to identify and manage the risks inherent in green
building. Lawyers can also help their clients navigate the complex layers of
taxes and exemptions that apply to green buildings, and can consult on the
potential benefits that green technologies can bring to a project's efficiency
and marketability. They can also look at a project and see what it might mean
for potential patents. As construction attorney Christopher G. Hill describes it, "We're using old materials in new ways and
using new materials that hadn't been used before in these types of projects."
Any typical green construction project may be a source of patentable ideas. The
materials, protective coatings and designs can all lead to identifying new white spaces or green fields in the
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