Roundtable: Innovation in Sustainable Technologies
06-09-2022 - 07-09-2022 / Buenos Aires, Argentina

To continue the debate and identify lines of research, the September 2022 Roundtable brought together again the jurists and economists who participated in the III Conference, who deepened the concepts expressed from their different approaches.

Based on the assumption that there is a capacity for innovation in sustainable technologies in Latin America, given the richness of its natural and human resources, economic, institutional, and legal factors hinder an accelerated innovation advance.

The debate addressed the question of the adequacy of patent law to support sustainable technologies in terms of correcting market failures that can hinder innovation, which vary according to the type of market failure. These are: (1) no or insufficient market for these technologies; (2) the existence of a market but insufficient investment incentives (ineffective protection); and (3) the existence of a market and investment but with barriers that impede innovation (e.g., overprotection). In these scenarios, it was discussed what measures or strategies could be adopted by the countries in the region to mitigate the negative effects and stimulate sustainable innovation.

When analysing the situation of the first market failure, it was found that it is difficult to find the situation described in Latin America. This is because regional innovation investments are mostly public, not private. The state is still characterised as the main driver of research and development. The state acts in different ways, so the types of possible interventions are diverse and can be adapted to the needs of each scenario. Innovation policies cannot be the same in the different historical and economic moments experienced by each country. Valuing different perspectives and solutions, including paralegals, can bring positive and appropriate results for each reality.

In addressing the second market failure, analysing mechanisms to protect investment and creation raised other points regarding policies to stimulate sustainable innovation. Whether it would be useful to move away from neutrality in patent analysis toward sustainable innovations or whether patents deemed unsustainable should be excluded.

Concerning the third market failure, the question of how exceptions and flexibilities work in Latin America and the need to rethink the assumption that intellectual property will promote innovation by restricting access was raised. In this sense, it becomes important to re-examine the package of flexibilities, which may be a way to find the expected results in terms of access by price, too high prices or complicated licensing. Including the aggregation of Patent Pools and Patent Data Bases. It is also necessary to identify in which countries so-called clean technologies are being developed and what are the access problems for countries in the region.

In addition to market and state failures, the debate considered that the transition to a sustainable society might require an innovation system dedicated to sustainability. Thus, oriented toward developing new markets, creating supply and demand. In this scenario, the role of the state is crucial. Moreover, it is important to understand the institutional profile and interactions to identify functionalities and dysfunctionalities in patent law.

The subject raises important questions and challenges that require further study. Sustainable innovations have the potential to provide solutions that are increasingly needed in a scenario of climate change and the need to ensure food and energy production, especially in Latin America.



  • Mohamed Amal, Brasil
  • Tatiana Antia, Colombia
  • Pedro Henrique D. Batista, Alemania
  • Alemania Roxana Blasetti, Argentina
  • Jorge Cabrera Medaglia, Costa Rica
  • Carlos Correa, Argentina
  • Juan Correa, Argentina
  • Valentina Delich, Argentina
  • Gabriel Dutreni, México
  • Clemente Forero, Colombia
  • Mariano Genovesi, Argentina
  • Reto M. Hilty, Alemania
  • Juliana Krueger Pela, Brasil
  • Matthias Lamping, Alemania
  • Dario Milesi, Argentina
  • Carolina Veas, Chile
  • Gabriel Severo Venco Teixeira da Cunha, Argentina
  • Tania Zuñiga, Perú