ATAIX Blog, Feb, 2019
National patent and trademark offices are the clearest way to go if you have some kind of intellectual property to protect. A very well established infrastructure already exists in most nations, coupled with more recent international intellectual property protection programs. However, the 21st century has provided us with many ways to enhance nearly every aspect of private and public life. It has also provided new challenges for almost every field, intellectual property included. With that in mind, we want to look into the potential use of one of the 21st century’s greatest innovations- blockchain- in this particular field.
In almost every country around the world there are different systems that regulate intellectual property, all of which were created long before the digital age we live in today. The rules that each country has set for themselves were mostly concentrated inwards, meaning they were meant to be enforced only for intellectual property that was to be used in that particular country. Now in these modern times, almost every idea has some international usage potential, and that, of course, has created some big problems. International treaties and conventions have attempted to address and resolve these issues, but have been met with many enforcement hurdles. This has been particularly evident in the case of internet-based businesses that have quick internationalization capabilities. Managing such businesses across multiple countries and continents has been a headache for many brands, taking a lot of their time and money. Blockchain technology, on the other hand, is the holy grail that everyone hopes will sort out some, if not all, of these hardships.
Below are three interesting ways that blockchain can potentially address these issues:
The birth of an idea
The first steps that are taken when an idea sees the light of day, by its individual creator and/or the company that represents it, are always to protect it. If some kind of technological development, service, or product can potentially be created from it, it’s only natural to patent the idea.
Blockchain actually provides a very clear and simple solution here, which is its ledger and the information that is recorded on it. Recording intellectual property on the ledger guarantees transparency when it comes to proving who came up with a certain idea first. Needless to say, this can prevent the headache, time, and expenses parties spend on legal battles to settle such issues.
One of the other purposes of the intellectual property systems is to award companies that innovate with their ideas when these ideas are used by third parties and their products through licensing. Verifying ownership of patents can be a real challenge when companies don’t update their ownership status, making it very hard for even the biggest companies to license something out.
This, like the issue above, creates endless disputes that can be easily avoided by implementing blockchain, thus giving a clear picture of who owns what, as well as a set of guidelines on how those things can be used by third parties.
Dealing with multiple jurisdictions around the world is a big problem. A ton of paperwork for each separate patent in each different country is enormously wasteful time and money wise.
If the blockchain is used to save an idea on its ledger, then legal offices around the world can just update the ledger with their set of rules which will make things less complex, more cost-effective, and, above all, borderless.