Like Money, Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual or digital currency, that works as a medium of exchange. Bitcoin and Ethereum are some of the more popular cryptocurrencies today, and although they are not controlled by Central banking authorities, for instance, RBI, they are recognized as an accepted form of exchange, which is why they must be protected. To protect cryptocurrencies, a technology known as block-chain technology comes into play.
Block-chain technology and IP
Fundamentally, block-chain technology is defined as a record of information that is used to track digital or virtual transactions exchanged. The information is then corroborated on peer-to-peer networks. Block-chain, along with other distributed recording technologies, creates a transparent, trustworthy record, allowing various parties to enter their transactions without providing anybody the ability to make any changes entered into the record or ledger, at any time in the future. Every transaction is referred to as a “block”, which is transmitted to every single participant or “node” in the network, who must verify the transaction. The block is added to the chain (ledger) only after it is verified. But what role does block-chain technology play in the field of intellectual property. Here’s a brief guide on blockchain and IP.
The arrival of block-chain technology and its ability to safeguard cryptocurrencies and other necessary information has resulted in many innovators filing patents for block-chain-related inventions. In fact, applicants from various industries, and not just banking and finance have started filing block-chain patents. Many proponents also insist on entering into license deals after patenting the technology to increase its outreach. As it happens with every new technology exhibiting great promise, block-chain, too, has attracted its fair share of duplicated productions. This has led to the formation of the Block-chain Intellectual Property Council or BIPC – an organisation aimed to create a patent strategy to contest and reduce the duplication of block-chain patents. And although there is a block-chain technology and IP law, the uncertainty about who owns the technology remains unaffected, despite its rising popularity.
Blockchain and similar recording technologies offer a wide range of possibilities for both, the protection and registration of IP. These technologies have proven especially beneficial while dealing with industries that are heavy in IP creation. Blockchain also provides cost-effective ways to accelerate such processes. Possible applications in the world of block-chain and IP include:
Apart from the above-mentioned points, the impact of block-chain on intellectual property is such that it may also be used for the purposes of authentication as well as provenance in detecting or retrieving stolen, counterfeit or parallel imported goods.
Beyond the confines of the financial technology world, block-chain technology has found a place for itself in fields such as protection and enforcement of brands, marketing the brand, as well as engaging consumers. Apart from this, block-chain technology is also used for tracking the development of goods in supply chains in different IP-intensive sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical and even consumer and luxury goods industries, in which emphasis is laid on the traceability of goods. This is typically a world in which counterfeiting occurs every day, which becomes a huge concern. The presence of block-chain technology and IT beyond the financial technology world is attributed to the fact that distributed recording technologies create secure and absolute information chains with time stamps.
As is evident, block-chain has several different uses that can protect the original creations. The potential uses of this technology are unlimited and it is possible to add different kinds of data to this technology – from cryptocurrencies to contractual information and transactions to large and small-sized data files – be it photographs, videos or even design documents. The best news is that block-chain technology is continuously developing at a rapid pace which is evident from the creation of new ledgers like ‘hash-graph’ software seeking to address scalability issues.