How blockchain technology is revolutionising the management and maintenance of Intellectual Property Rights

Permissioned blockchain has the potential to revolutionise international collaboration between different judicial systems, making for faster, more secure, and more efficient processes.
Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual Property Rights

Protecting intellectual property is increasingly becoming non-negotiable, and it is clear that blockchain can have a facilitative role in this process. But how is this so? In this article, we will explore just how blockchain technology can revolutionise the way intellectual property (IP) is managed and maintained

Even if IP laws remain the same if blockchain technology is used, enforcement is needed to keep track of this borderless technology. However, the major challenge of blockchain technology needs to be addressed - how to facilitate the registration of trademarks, copyrights and other IP laws in blockchain, while protecting them from third parties and maintaining their authenticity. This challenge can be overcome by leveraging the distributed ledger technology of blockchain.

Secure Your IP With Blockchain

Firstly, the use of blockchain in maintaining the database of registered IP ensures that the owner’s rights are secure by keeping track of the timestamp and activity of ownership. This also helps in validating any IP and preventing any infringement-related cases.

Thanks to blockchain, verification of IP ownership is straightforward, as compared to the traditional laborious paperwork needed for enforcement of IP rights.

Businesses, governments, universities and research centres are beginning to implement distributed ledger technology for IP protection. Trending initiatives like patent pools (global blockchain-powered pools to bring IP stakeholders from universities and research centres to a common platform), have the potential to record patents, copyrighted materials and trademarked works over the blockchain.

According to Straits Research, the global intellectual property market was valued at  $7.5 billion in 2021 and blockchain appears to be an enabler. With blockchain, validating the originality of materials and maintaining ownership is possible with fewer digital footprints and more secure longevity.

WIPO looks to revolutionise IP ecosystems

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is actively exploring the potential applications and opportunities presented by blockchain technologies and their impact on IP ecosystems. Blockchain technology is being explored for its potential to revolutionise innovation, facilitate IP licensing and recordkeeping, as well as its potential to provide legally admissible evidence of IP or its enforcement in courts of law.

At present, WIPO is advocating for the use of blockchain technology in IP litigation. In particular, smart contracts can potentially reduce and even eliminate litigation due to the ability of the contracting parties to engage in direct and secure transactions, wherein the software will automatically terminate the contract should a condition be met or no longer met.

Moreover, applications on blockchain technology can help create and submit evidence to IP offices or courts during IP-related proceedings enforcing registered and unregistered rights. This could have a monumental impact on speeding up legal proceedings and ensuring accuracy and data security.

For example, during court procedures, judges will be able to retrieve information about the status of a registered IP related to a dispute on a blockchain system of a national IP registry, almost instantaneously. This could change the way IP disputes are pursued, and it could help to reduce contested IP-related cases in the long term

In the nearer future, WIPO hopes to leverage the power of the blockchain technology’s distributed ledger and smart contracts to streamline processes, reduce costs, and eliminate errors associated with manual processes in the IP space.

This would be a major step forward in the global IP ecosystem and a powerful innovation to usher in a new era of secure, efficient and cost-effective IP law and litigation.

By embracing and leveraging the power of blockchain technology for IP, WIPO is ensuring that its services remain up to date, competitive, and fully optimised for the 21st century.

Permissioned blockchain technology could revolutionise judicial notifications worldwide

The dawn of the digital age has opened up a new chapter of possibilities in international collaboration. Permissioned blockchain technology could become a vital tool in enabling and facilitating international collaboration between different judicial systems in other countries. It could potentially revolutionise judicial notifications, help streamline the process of obtaining evidence abroad, expedite requests for information and facilitate the recognition of the authenticity of foreign judgments. Moreover, it could help minimise the risks of parallel litigation and facilitate the coordination of proceedings across jurisdictions.

Through permissioned blockchain technology, international collaboration of judicial systems could go from being difficult and slow to seamless and efficient.

Blockchain technology could be used for a variety of tasks, such as digitising existing paper systems, automating document submission processes, and ensuring faster transmission of information. Through its secure encryption and immutability, blockchain technology could provide the trust and security needed to facilitate international collaboration.

The advantages of utilising blockchain technology for this important purpose could be substantial. With blockchain technology, transactions can be recorded, processed and validated in a transparent and secure manner, while upholding the sovereignty of different jurisdictions. As blockchain technology is still new and evolving, a coordinated effort by legal and technology experts should be taken to ensure that appropriate laws, regulations and standards are updated in a timely manner.

It could also speed up requests for data, documents, and evidence and provide more accurate information. This could help reduce delays and ensure that justice is not compromised. It could also lead to lower costs for administrative procedures.

The possibilities for international cooperation enabled by permissioned blockchain technology has caught the attention of many global technology giants. Microsoft has already started developing an open-source blockchain-as-a-service platform on Azure. Similarly, IBM has created an enterprise-ready platform for enterprise blockchain applications.

Neha Dhir is an Attorney in the Global Digital Assets Practice at BlockLegal.

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