CIPA nominee is a runner-up in Prince William’s Earthshot Prize 2023

The search for the winners of Prince William’s Earthshot Prize 2023, the world’s most high-profile environmental awards, ended at an awards ceremony in Singapore today – and CIPA nominee, Colorifix, was among the 10 runners-up.

Colorifix, a client of Mathys and Squire, was one of three finalists in the Build a Waste-Free World category. The Norwich-based company has developed the first entirely biological process to produce, deposit and fix colour to textiles, removing petrochemicals and other harmful substances whilst saving significant water and energy.

Nominations are sought across five categories, with the winners receiving £1 million and access to a network of Global Alliance partners and a global platform and profile from which to showcase their solutions across the world. For a full list of winners and finalists, see The Earthshot Prize website.

We are honoured to be a part of the The Earthshot Prize family, both as an Official Nominator and as a provider of free intellectual property due diligence checks on a shortlist of potential winners. Our members also provide pro bono IP advice to any finalist in need.

Last year CIPA nominated three finalists: Notpla in Build a Waste-Free World and Low Carbon Materials and LanzaTech in Fix Our Climate. Notpla was announced as the £1M winner at the awards in Boston in December 2022.

We are proud to promote the important role that patents and IP protection play in the drive towards a sustainable future. Without patents, the innovators of important environmental solutions may struggle to raise finance and might not be able to commercialise their inventions or reach their full potential.

Pierre Paslier, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Notpla, said: “The Prize has been absolutely amazing at creating so many connections – commercial, investment, partnerships, research, philanthropies, you name it. Obviously the million pound helps! So we’ve continued to invest in R&D and accelerate the development of all of our solutions. Our workforce has grown and now we’re trying to use this platform to attract a bigger capital injection that is going to allow us to grow significantly and geographically as well. We’re very European-focused right now, but we hope to come to the US and tap into the opportunities here.”

Notpla are now set for a move into US markets. Its very first patent, filed back in 2017 for Notpla’s edible Ooho bubbles, was granted in the US earlier this year.

Pierre explained: “Imagine a little bubble that is transparent and filled with a beverage, like a cocktail or isotonic drink for a marathon, and that packaging is edible. So you can just burst the little bubble in your mouth. It’s going to explode and then you can eat the membrane, which is made from seaweed. That’s an Ooho!

We’ve also filed a new patent for some exciting new developments. We’re always continuing to leverage patents to create value and to give ourselves some defences in the market.

Natasha Boulding, CEO of Low Carbon Materials (LCM), told us that since being named as an Earthshot finalist, her company had been working with concrete manufacturers across the UK and also with global manufacturers to encourage them to switch to LCM’s materials in order to lower the carbon footprint of the concrete they’re producing.

“They have now made thousands of concrete items containing our product,” said Natasha. “But it’s never just been about concrete for us and it’s never just been about our product, Osto (LCM’s carbon negative aggregate made from unrecyclable waste). We are expanding into roads as well. We have another product that’s entirely different to the first, which has been developed to decarbonize asphalt, which is the material that we use for making roads. We’re currently working with National Highways in the UK on the strategic road network and also Sanska to further develop this product and commercialise it.

“In the last 12 months we have filed two or three more patents. It is absolutely key to our strategy because our ultimate aim is to license our technology. So having a robust IP strategy is key. We are constantly thinking about ways that we can protect the next products that come out.”

Date published: 7 November 2023

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