Patents can be an important vector to search for and characterise the current state of research in new energy technologies.
However, extensively copying the WIPO database may not be the best way to make this wiki as informative as possible. Therefore I suggest some editorial guidelines :
- Ensure the patent claims a new energy source
There's a near infinite amount of patents. The ones that should be of most interest to us are those at least claiming to describe a method to tap into a new energy source. For example, patents describing a "dynamo" aren't necessarily claiming a "new abundant clean energy source", they're possibly just describing a device that turns motion into electricity.
Note : this may require that you actually read the patent you're citing. As you're doing so, it would be helpful to explicitly show the reader that the patent is relevant, either by including the abstract, or by copying specific phrases within the patent description or claims.
- Limit the amount of patents on any single class of technologies
If well chosen, the first dozen or so patents are probably the most valuable. It can be helpful to add more, to show activity in the field and identify current researchers, but keep in mind there's the law of diminishing returns.
Recent patents would seem more relevant than ancient ones to our goal of designing an XPrize. Perhaps one or two early patents can help explain the context of a particular field, but listing dozens of patents from before WWII is probably less relevant.
Sometimes inventors get several patent numbers for essentially the same invention. You can generally tell because the title is the same or very similar, or the abstract, or the claims. Including multiple references to essentially the same patent is less informative. (Some inventors genuinely have several different patents, which may be worth quoting to show a level of activity over time, for example)
- Identify and order the patents
It is helpful to group patents by author and by date, so readers can easily place the patents in some context. This also allows contributors to see if a new patent they've found is already on the list (the patent number alone is not enough, unfortunately).
Taking into account the above, I suggest we try to include the following info on patents.
- (Inventor, Year) or (Assignee, Year), e.g. (Airbus, 2011)
- Number + link
- Title of the patent
- Abstract / text : somehow show that the patent is about an abundant new energy source.
- optional : comments / interpretation / context are often helpful...
Thoughts & comments welcome !