In today’s knowledge economy, the ability to effectively manage intellectual property (IP) is essential for companies to remain competitive and profitable. With the emergence of blockchain-enabled tools, businesses now have access to a secure platform that can represent unique assets and streamline IP management processes.
This technology enables content producers, owners of IP, distribution partners, and end consumers alike to benefit from improved security for their most valuable resources while also facilitating more efficient development payments across the value chain. By leveraging these platforms strategically, business leaders can ensure they are well-positioned in this new digital landscape where an increasing share of business value is derived via intangible assets.
Blockchain is revolutionizing the way companies protect their information, with far-reaching implications. As this cutting-edge technology continues to evolve and become more widely adopted by industries around the world, it will be important for businesses to understand how they must adapt to ensure that they are compliant with applicable laws and regulations surrounding IP protection.
Navigating the evolving business environment.
Businesses that rely on IP-protected material to create value are facing two major forces which present several key challenges.
On one side, IT systems are not synchronized or integrated, making it difficult to locate and comply with copyrights on time. Additionally, businesses must accurately apply attribution and cost compensation for the responsible parties involved in using the protected material—including operating units and individual creators. Without proper synchronization of data between these entities before settlement or exercise of IP rights, manual investigation is required for reconciliation; thus preventing managers from tracking progress against reliable targets due to lack of real-time validated information.
On another side, Firms today are operating in ever-growing and increasingly complex business networks. With the rise of multiple partners at every step of the value chain, as well as more varied uses for a single IP asset, firms must invest significant resources to integrate operations and manage data feeds from all sources. This often results in high costs associated with connecting with partners while also hindering businesses’ ability to develop their operational strategies that would maximize efficiency and profitability. As such, companies need to be aware of these challenges so they can make informed decisions when navigating this new business landscape.
Establishing real ownership rights.
An individual who pursues an artistic endeavor invests significant resources into creating a piece of music, artwork, or design that they want to protect and maintain ownership rights over. Unfortunately, in the event of a dispute where copyright is contested, it can be difficult for the creator to prove their ownership before the courts. Currently, there are several methods available such as timestamps and registering with copyright authorities but none can offer conclusive evidence of ownership due to lack of examination by relevant authorities.
The current worldwide intellectual property system has its flaws, as it is difficult to prove infringement due to the lack of an immediate registration process. However, blockchain technology provides a solution by providing creators with automatic timestamps on their works that can be used to claim ownership and easily prove any subsequent infringements. This ensures that artists are properly compensated for their creations and gives them peace of mind knowing they have legal protection in case someone attempts to steal or misuse their work.
Licensing trademark rights through smart contracts.
The idea of licensing trademark rights through blockchain is appealing since it eliminates the need for third-party involvement or any additional external support. The contract between two parties is written in computer code and is self-executing with cryptographic signatures. Since human intervention is removed from the equation, the code automatically controls all transactions under the contract. For instance, the code will dictate when a royalty payment is due based on the agreement and will send funds to the appropriate trademark holder.
Luxury-brand owners of products, like purses, see many individuals selling counterfeit goods or knock-offs of the original. Even though there are some tips such as price, source, etc., to identify the product’s authenticity, they always cannot be enough. Consumers aren’t always savvy enough to determine the difference between a counterfeit product and an original. Blockchain technology would allow the level of counterfeit goods to be policed since a corresponding unique identifier (like a tag number or QR code) would verify the product’s origins. A consumer could, ideally, scan this code to trace the origins of the goods and verify authenticity.
Registering trademarks through the blockchain increases efficiency.
Blockchain will transform the registration of IP rights, in addition to strengthening the protection of unregistered IP rights.
In some countries, when an individual applies for a trademark, the applicant is required to show the use of the mark either for the application process or for demonstrating its uniqueness. Blockchain technology will make the registration process for trademarks, designs, and patents more efficient and practical by cutting down on some of the necessary procedures. In other words, with blockchain, the country’s trademark office could document the use and frequency of the trademark, as well as the date of use. This “chain” could be accessed by all individuals and potentially create a convenient way to check on a registered mark.
What are the potential limitations of blockchain and IP law?
Although blockchain technology could potentially revolutionize IP law applications, there are some potential roadblocks. Currently, there isn’t a adaptable standard for brand protection and IP rights, so potential conflicts could arise among various countries. In addition, the blockchain doesn’t necessarily provide an integrity check on the initial information entered— it only provides assurances that this data hasn’t been compromised or altered. Initially, there must be some internal trust built between the parties to ensure there are no underlying questions regarding the original information that initiated the blockchain.
At its core, Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the way intangible assets are managed and secured. By providing a safe, distributed ledger system that records transactions between parties in an immutable fashion, blockchain enables companies to optimize their return on investment by ensuring asset attribution upon creation and preventing fraud. Additionally, its ability to facilitate efficient operations and product innovation makes it essential for businesses looking to maximize their profits through leveraging digital assets in the IP life cycle of the future.
Author: Alessandro Civati
Blockchain iD: https://lrx.is/MIxy9rPqbh