Written by Jesulayomi Adetola

April 26, 2021

A blockchain is a decentralized ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed through the blockchain’s entire network of computer systems. The method of protecting intellectual property has become much more simplified since the introduction of this blockchain, which eliminates any doubt on where copyright belongs. All parties involved, including content creators, IP owners, distribution partners, and end users, would benefit. By reducing approval wait times and necessary capital, blockchain has the potential to disrupt the patent and trademark process.

Use cases of Blockchain in Intellectual Property.

  1. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs: are a critical blockchain-based intellectual property innovation. NFTs are cryptographic tokens that can be used on a blockchain to represent unique properties. Innovators or developers of a piece of work may use blockchain to upload, record, and time-stamp their original work on a public ledger, resulting in undeniable proof of ownership.

2. IP lawyers can use the blockchain to provide proof of first use, creation, and rights management, reducing the number of cases of intellectual property infringement. A lawyer may use the blockchain to set up the terms of sale and license of an IP for his or her client, and the blockchain’s secure, transparent, and immutable features protect the client’s IP rights. Blockchain is one such technology that has the potential to meet the demand for IP protection by providing both security and proof of
ownership for intellectual property. Many businesses have already begun to provide blockchain-based time stamping and authentication systems to protect digital assets.

Case study: TinEye, Binded, Pixsy, and Mediachain – These companies allow the registration of copyrights on the blockchain where they can be monitored.

3. Innovators and content creators may also put their copyrights on a smart contract, which will pay out if certain conditions are met. A smart contract is a Blockchain-based computer program that runs automatically whenever a predetermined condition in a transaction is met. As a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), blockchain can be used as a possible platform for inventors to list their inventions/digital works in the form of ledgers with brief descriptions, effectively serving as an IP
marketplace. In addition, inventors/patent holders may use Blockchain to find potential licensees for their inventions’ related know-how.

Case Study: PATENTICO and IPwe – these companies offer a platform where intellectual property funding/distribution could be done.

4. During the lifecycle of digital assets such as patents, copyrights, and publications, there is a need for a technology that allows different copies of digital assets to be linked together. Blockchain technology can be used in systems where users can use blockchain’s ledger technology to connect all versions of their digital assets and potentially use it for asset end-to-end lifecycle maintenance.

Case Study: Bernstein IP – This company offers a public register of every of one’s digital assets.

The use of blockchain would result in significant efficiencies in the management of rights and royalties and the creation of potential capabilities based on a new set of technological principles. Intangible assets are becoming increasingly critical to a company’s value, and performance hinges on the ability to maximize return on investment.

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