Blockchain's Potential Impact On Intellectual Property (IP) Industry
Since it emerged, blockchain has slowly but surely been attracting the attention of numerous industries. Some of them saw the potential for improvement, while the new technology seriously disrupted others. However, one industry, in particular, may end up feeling a strong impact by going blockchain, and that is the IP industry.
IP, or Intellectual Property, is an industry that features numerous third-party authenticators who are responsible for patents and trademarks, and more. Meanwhile, blockchain is a relatively new type of technology that allows transactions to be permanently recorded in its transaction history. Once recorded, the transactions are immutable, meaning that they cannot be changed or manipulated in any way. It is even impossible to delete them, while they still remain public and accessible to all of the network participants.
Blockchain's decentralization ensures that no single party has total control over the stored data, making it much safer than any centralized system that offers a similar type of service.
How can blockchain affect the IP industry?
The problem with the IP authenticators and regulators, as they are right now, is that they were based on an old and outdated model, one that even predates the digital age. Furthermore, each country uses its own system, and while they do operate on a similar basis — each jurisdiction is still different from any other.
This was not that important and problematic before international trade entered the mainstream, but businesses eventually expanded to different markets. While this was good for the businesses, in general, it still resulted in a number of issues, particularly when it comes to the possession of ideas.
The Internet contributed to this growth and expansion the most, but it also brought these problems. Meanwhile, blockchain may provide a solution, or if not a total solution — it can at least reduce the problem. There are three areas where blockchain can help improve the IP industry.
1) Protecting new ideas
Whenever someone comes up with a new idea, whether they are a large firm or a single individual, they need to take steps to protect it. This can sometimes be easier for companies, as there is a clear technical development of a new service or product, which the firms can easily patent and protect themselves. This is where blockchain technology can help by allowing both individuals and companies to store their idea on blockchain, which would later serve as definitive proof that whoever filed it is the original owner.
Blockchain's timestamps would resolve any further issues by simply looking at when was the idea stored on the chain, and who was the first one to store it. The process would be extremely simple, and it would resolve countless problems, including legal challenges and potential lawsuits, which would ultimately also save up a lot of money.
2) Establishing ownership
Another large issue that can sometimes make problems for owners of IPs is their sale or trade. It is not uncommon for companies to trade IP assets, but then fail to update the asset's ownership status in time. This can create problems in regards to ownership of the IP, and eventually lead to patent disputes.
Once again, blockchain can provide the solution by simply creating and storing new licensing agreements. This would provide updated information regarding the IP's owner, as well as details regarding the trade or sale.
3) IP transactions
Thanks to the worldwide expansion of various businesses, it has become extremely challenging to manage IP around the world. Firms that come up with a new product, idea, or service have to start by deciding where to seek idea protection and apply in different countries individually. This does not only include beating the competition but also having to deal with huge amounts of paperwork and complex rules and laws in different countries. It is easy to imagine how time-consuming, expensive, and troublesome this can be.
Blockchain, on the other hand, is borderless. All that users would need to do is place their idea on blockchain, update it, and create a geographical scope for it. That way, companies around the world can use the same blockchain for storing ideas and confirming themselves as their owners. Meanwhile, the ideas would be protected, while still out in the open, showing others who own them. The potential for reducing the paperwork alone is exceptional, while the process itself is short, quick, and cheap.