Weiteres Forschungsprojekt
Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht

Green Technology Patenting and Climate Change Politics: Examining the EU MAC Directive

The paper examines the refusal by German car manufacturers to comply with the provisions of the European Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive (2006/40/EC) and the implications on the adoption of green technology protected by IP law, competition law and EU law.

Letzte Änderung: 09.02.16

Global warming mitigation and adaptation strategies rely on the development and adoption of green technologies that have a positive impact on climate change. Though intellectual property (IP) rights promote green technologies, it is also seen as a barrier to technology diffusion. As effective global de-carbonisation strategy is based on international technology transfer policies, the patent conflict over green technologies has politicised and further widened the Global North-South divide. The aim is to explore the politics of access to green technologies and the axiomatic conflicts between IP and competition law that affects the dynamics of technology transfer.

The paper focuses on the European Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive (2006/40/EC) that has adopted new standards on air conditioning systems in motor vehicles with the aim to combat global warming. Though the MAC Directive is technology-neutral, the only commercially available refrigerant gas that complies with the MAC Directive is HFO1234yf, and it is patent protected. In October 2014, the European Commission issued Statement of Objection against Honeywell and Dupont, alleging potential anti-competitive agreements that may have hindered competition on the market for HFO1234yf. The situation is exacerbated by the refusal to use HFO1234yf on the basis of safety concerns by certain German car manufactures, even though it is the only available technology that complies with the MAC Directive.

The paper argues that the refrigerant gas politics within Europe provide inferences that are relevant to the issue of access to patented green technology in developing countries. It is necessary to move beyond the perspective offered by the ‘activist-discourse’ with regard to access to green technologies, as it is limited to the confines of territorial Global North-South ideologies. The paper will call for a longitudinal shift in the climate change discourse whereby the interest of the IP owner is squarely placed against the public interest.



Sujitha Subramanian


Dr. Roberto Romandini