How blockchain will disrupt intellectual property management
Traditional tools for protecting Intellectual Property (IP) such as patents and trademarks aren’t always fast enough to secure sensitive assets. Below DEIP’s CEO Alex Shkor discloses real use cases how blockchain revolutionizes the way innovators secure their intellectual property and helps lawyers and legal advisers minimize issues associated with IP management.
Raising the question of Blockchain for intellectual property and brand protection, professionals provoke a response that mimics a child on a long car journey: are we nearly there yet? For innovators or startups determined to protect their IP and ideas from counterfeiting too, blockchain does offer some interesting possibilities. Moreover, there are many more areas where intellectual property law and blockchain technology are crossed.
Firstly, ideas registered in blockchain help create more persuasive defense in court; this practice provides trusted digital evidence of your ownership of the idea. Once you register a file in blockchain, the date and time of the registration are recorded and stay there forever – this information can’t ever be erased or tampered with and can be easily verified by any independent third party.
Secondly, blockchain simplifies partnership formation based on IP assets. It offers fractional ownership thanks to the smart-contracts on the distributed ledger. Furthermore, it enables access to the system around the clock, provides greater liquidity of data and frictionless transfer of ownership.
Thirdly, but not less important, smart contracts offered on the Blockchain platform enables the owners to create automated agreements for distribution of profit from IP assets proportionally to fractional ownership of these assets, avoiding lengthily lockup of money and the need for intermediary parties trusted by both sides of the transaction.
Let’s check how the mentioned benefits of using blockchain for protecting intellectual property apply in real use cases DEIP has been working with.
Blockchain enables innovators to place a set of proofs around core IP that leave no margin of any doubt for even the narrowest claims.
Use-case #1: You are working on a revolutionary new vaccine. During your product development cycle, you make numerous iterative changes to your vaccine formula. Changes occur so often that it makes it impossible to patent every new version of your product. Using progressive protection, iterative improvements are continuously captured, timestamped, and certified to provide you with extra confidence within your innovation cycle.
Blockchain establishes secure channels and evidence records for your IP assets sharing offering safe collaboration with partners, investors, and employees while exchanging confidential information, data, and documents.
Use-case #2: Your team of scientists built a living cell reprogrammed to recognize and kill cancer. You share the formula with big businesses to get funding. It discloses the main features of your product. Research funding has been delayed, refused, or granted at lower valuations by this company, which later uses your research, formulas, and methods for its own purposes.
This isn’t an uncommon scenario for scientists discovering scientific breakthroughs and sharing with additional parties. The most notable examples of evidence being: NDAs, technology transfer agreements or emails. Evidence of a non-disclosure agreement in a court is a step in the right direction, but may not comprehensively cover material aspects of the infringement. Consequently, you can have a non-disclosure agreement document without enough details to protect yourself.
With blockchain-based platforms, you can protect your digital assets before sharing them, regulate access rights, link NDA and policies to sensitive IP assets, avoid data leaks and access by unauthorized parties.
Extensive IP safety matters
Legal matters alone might not suffice to protect your intellectual property. Additional administrative and technical matters are required in order to make sure your intellectual property is safe.
Use-case #3: A company has a lot of innovators and science departments working together to deliver breakthrough research to the market. Access to data inside the company is crucial to progress faster. But not all the data should be available to everyone – for example, device designs and specifications should be available only to the hardware department. To avoid data leaks and access by unauthorized parties, limit access to critical information to specific departments or individuals.
These examples prove that blockchain technology has the potential to shake up the world of intellectual property. With its relatively low cost of maintenance, increased transparency, lessened administrative burden and resilience to fraud, blockchain is an attractive prospect in protecting IP rights. Lawyers and legal entities dealing with IP protection are among the professionals who will be among the first to reap the most benefits.
About DEIP IP Ledger:
DEIP IP Ledger is a part of DEIP’s ecosystem of products in DEIP Open Innovation Network. DEIP includes products built around IP assets allowing extraction of the maximum value: monetize IP, establish partnerships and collaboration using automated contracts (like NDAs, partnership agreements, etc.), find subject matter experts to support your projects, make unbiased screening and evaluation of innovation for agile decision making and funding.