The United States' primary transportation energy sources are fossil fuels, namely, gasoline and diesel. These products have high environmental, security, and financial costs. A strong emphasis has been placed on biofuels, especially ethanol and biodiesel, to lessen reliance on fossil fuels. Historically, high production costs, lack of infrastructure, return on investment anxieties, and concerns about scaling-up production have slowed the development of these alternative technologies. Today, biotechnological solutions are lowering productions costs and making large scale production more economically feasible. Patents can lessen anxieties about investment as they can provide longer-term protection and market exclusivity for patented technologies. As biofuels production is a relatively new field, there are many opportunities for companies to patent technologies that become industry standards, thereby increasing their chances of becoming dominant players in the field. Various patent approaches can maximize these chances. Moreover, replacing a significant portion of the fuel supply with biofuels would require vast quantities to be made, and this will require technologies that can reliably produce a uniform product on a large scale. The uniformity necessitated by large scale production facilities will likely be a product of a few patented biotech platforms. Thus, the first to patent platform technologies will likely emerge as one of the leading companies in the field and may even create a dominating market presence.
Biotech Biofuels: How Patents May Save Biofuels and Create Empires,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol86/iss1/10