Block Chaining: Intellectual Property
In the era of digitalization, where technological advancements have been
controlling and dominating every sector of the industry, we can see the newer
advancement in the form of blockchain technology. Virtual digital currency which
is otherwise referred to as Cryptocurrency is functionalized by blockchain
technology. The underlining principles of Blockchain is decentralization and
elimination of the intermediaries and regulation through algorithms and
cryptographic techniques. The superimposition of blockchain technology in the
field of Intellectual Property can lead to the generation of an efficient system
with a higher level of security for the rights of the owners of Intellectual
What is blockchain?It is a collection of records that are linked with each other strongly resistant
to alterations and are protected using cryptography. Hashing algorithms are used
instead of third parties. All the hashes are unique and thus there cannot be any
misinterpretation. All the relevant data is automatically digitally collected in
a ledger. This is a permanent way of storing the records in the ledger which
would help improve the protection in the field of intellectual property.
Smart contracts"Smart contracts" were first suggested in the early 1990s as a type of
computerized transaction protocol that implements a contract's provisions.
The concept of smart contracts was first suggested in the late 90s, it is a type
of automated transaction protocol which implements the terms of the contract.
The contract is implemented automatically when the specific criterion is
fulfilled. Smart contracts are developed by blockchains which are supported
later by computer programs. They have programs linked with each other which are
on basis of logical links between the provisions of the contract. The smart
contract technology when adapted in intellectual property allows automatic
third-party free transactions, thereby being economically efficient and less
time-consuming. These programs are strongly resistant to alterations and are
easily trackable and enforceable.
IPR and blockchainThe interlink between intellectual property and blockchain could improvise both
industries, blockchain technology could be used in intellectual property for its
efficient functioning and regulation. Blockchain systems if introduced in the IP
industry could enhance security, being in transparency and thus it would be easy
to main records of various transactions without the bureaucratic hassle.
Nevertheless, blockchain technology would make the process of registration
economically efficient and faster.
Blockchain technology provides a platform for intellectual property to enhance
its protection and registration by providing a cost-effective and faster method.
Implementing blockchain technology in intellectual property allows tamper-proof
evidence for copyright and other IP ownership, registration of intellectual
property, controlling and tracking registered and unregistered intellectual
property, providing evidence of first use, establishing agreements or licenses
through smart contracts, etc.
Blockchain and copyrightIn India, Copyright protection is provided to original artistic, literary, and
dramatic works. Copyright protection exists from the time the author creates the
work, registration is not mandatory to claim copyright protection on works. In
the usual scenario establishing the date of creation of the work is difficult,
implementing blockchain technology in copyright would aid in providing solid
evidence of first use. The ledger would prove to be a permanent electronic
register to have records of the property. This would lead to easy identification
of the true and first author of any work and increase the authenticity in the
domain of copyrights. As smart contracts are self-executory in nature ensuring
the performance of the contract would be easier with the technology as there
would be instant cash inflow when the purpose of the contract is fulfilled.
Blockchain and trademarkTrademarks help the services and goods be distinguished from other competitors.
When blockchain technology is implemented in trademark protection, it would make
the process of registering a trademark easier and less time-consuming. As there
will be an automated register for keeping all the records, it would be useful
for the effective delivery of justice for matters related to infringement. In
the matters of trademark claims of identifying the ownership, the execution of
licenses and assignment, revocation of any registered trademark or if there is a
deceptively similar nature of any mark, decisions could be taken diligently. As,
the trademark legislation also provides protection to well-known marks, with
this technology establishing whether the mark is well-known and has goodwill
attached to it in the market would be easier.
Advantages of blockchain and way forwardThe non-tamper able nature of blockchain enhances the security of the rights of
the IP owners. Blockchain technology can be substantially used to furnish
evidence of ownership. Smart contracts in cumulation with intellectual property
rights would ensure enhanced security, especially in assignments and licensing.
The introduction of blockchain in the field of IP would mean greater
transparency, lesser bureaucratic work, lower maintenance cost, and more
resilience to corruption. IP owners can benefit from this technology by
safeguarding their rights and explaining their IP works. Blockchain could be
used as a technology-based IP registry where the owners of Intellectual property
can keep their certificates in hashed forms and could also benefit from the
platform to receive royalties from assignment and licensing. With blockchain
technology, there can be strict regulation of the IP industry, and tracing
illegal, unauthorized uses of IP works would be easier.
At the outset, the idea of introducing blockchain IP seems to bring in a major
revolution. However, there are many areas that are still underprepared, such as
the high cost and extreme energy consumption, and the compatibility of
technological evidence. The legal stance pertaining to a blockchain is not yet
clear. In India, there is no legislation specific to blockchain technology and
there are debates on security, privacy, and liability. Currently, the Indian
Information Technology Act, of 2000 provides legal identification to blockchain
technology as it regulates all electronic transactions and communications.
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