Jan 11, 2022
Blockchain is a decentralized ledger technology that records the origin of a digital asset. Most commonly, it is associated with Bitcoin. However, its definition should spark an idea in your mind. What if Blockchain can be used in intellectual property (IP) protection, copyright protection and in settling intellectual property issues? This could just as well be the future of Blockchain!
It might seem weird to introduce Blockchain into the mix of intellectual property protection since the IP industry already has several trademark and patent authenticators in place. Every country has its national patent and trademark organisations and there are international organisations that also look after copyright protection.
However, it is important to note that the “technology” authenticating patents and trademarks are decades old and can barely be referred to as technology. They were introduced in the pre-digital age. Moreover, with each country governing their own agencies there are bound to be some differences between each IP agency.
With the advent of the Internet, ideas are shared online and stop being the concern of a country, but rather the concern of the world. Ideas can reach far away countries within minutes and can be stolen within minutes too! This is where Blockchain comes into the picture.
Regardless of if the idea is a trendy dance, a makeup technique, or a catchy word, ideas can build brands. These ideas and individuals need to be protected. There are also companies that create ideas that must protect their ideas and their brand. In some cases, there is a clear product or service, or technology that can develop from the idea. Companies and individuals may want to patent them for copyright protection and to avoid intellectual property issues.
Some companies indeed refuse to copyright or patent their ideas to avoid giving away secrets to their competition. Later, the companies find themselves fighting with the competition for the right to claim their own property as theirs. In these cases, how would it become possible to carry out intellectual property protection?
This is where the future of Blockchain comes in. By taking away the time consuming and expensive disputes. Blockchain can help companies and individuals identify their own innovations and place it on record within a Blockchain. Then, if someone wants to identify the original creator of an idea, they will simply have to look through the blockchain’s timestamp. This would put to rest disputes revolving around intellectual property.
If a company creates an idea, they may patent or trademark it and then allow other companies to use this idea at a fee through licensing procedures. However, some products – especially electronic ones – may confuse the users as to whom they must reach out to. There might be thousands of patents being used to create a single electronic device.
A good example of this is the mobile phone industry which has been battling intellectual property issues and copyright protection claims with manufacturers. The arguments that manufacturers have with developers are time-consuming and expensive, especially when the developer and manufacturer are both unable to produce their device without each other.
Through Blockchain use in IP industries, companies can spend less time disputing their claims and reap the rewards of their inventions and ideas. If the manufacturer is creating a car that has thousands of patents, they are questioned about IP ownership. Verifying who came up with the patent can be difficult, especially since some inventors are long gone. Some companies even tend to trade their IPs without updating information about them such as who the current owner of the IP is. Blockchain IP protection erases all these problems by providing a clear line to the owner of the IP. Even licensing processes can be completed via the Blockchain by providing an accurate and up-to-date ledger.
Future of Blockchain in IP
If Blockchain is adopted early in the Intellectual Property industry, it will be done at a private level or a company-wide level. This will enable companies to innovate and collaborate better internationally. Let’s say a group of creators are working together and are using Blockchain for IP support. They may keep adding to their ideas and their present work via Blockchain. Private companies with massive research and development departments could highly benefit from these.
Blockchain can record IP creation and even manage the records that are kept for IP. Usually, IP agencies have huge piles of paperwork for one idea and its intellectual property protection. However, using Blockchain and other technology, the process of copyright protection can be speed up and owners can quickly assert their ownership over their own inventions and ideas. However, it is important that Blockchain IP protection be adopted at a global scale.
Blockchain IP protection adoption is simple, and the end user would be none the wiser of the use of such technology. Licensing, trademarking, patenting, and transactions related to intellectual properties and relevant issues would be cheaper and faster and more effective.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that are mostly representing art, but can also represent music, videos, and other real-world objects. They are purchased or sold by creators online using cryptocurrency, using blockchain to encode them. However, while money like bitcoin is fungible (can be traded), NFTs cannot as they have unique values and cannot be exchanged or equal.
NFTs exist on a blockchain, specifically the Ethereum blockchain. Other blockchains can hold them as well. Blockchain technology removes the need for an art gallery, instead artists can sell their art as an NFT to other people, keeping more of their profits for themselves. Artists can include royalty arrangements in the technology, so whenever their NFTs are sold to a new owner, they will receive some percent of the sales. The creators of non-fungible tokens can transfer the ownership of the NFTs to anyone and using a distributed ledger technology, can keep track of the ownership and who the original creator was, whom it was transferred to and who by. Another important part of NFTs is authenticity, which a blockchain will allow to validate.
In conclusion, Blockchain use in Intellectual Property protection could potentially be huge, saving lots of time and money for companies and idea creators. However, the industry must adopt Blockchain and an agreed platform of Blockchain at that, in the long run. This process will be slow and will require patience, time, and drive. It would be much tougher to adopt Blockchain for IP than it would be for cryptocurrencies.
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