Blockchain’s blueprint perceived as an entity has alleviated several hurdles of the society to date. But to make that stimulation constant, the inter-connection of the blockchain technology and intellectual property (IP) protection is required promptly. For a blockchain developer, having his/her copyright/trademark/patent/trade secrets is crucial otherwise a hacker might take the credit. With globalization and localization overlapping majorly across the world, having a proof on-paper is the prerequisite to resolve an issue with transparency and integrity. Due to the decentralization nature of blockchain, and a few other factors as well, there’s an issue from an intellectual property protection perspective.
To know more about the degree of interweaving between the two, one needs to understand the inside-out of intellectual property.
The origin of intellectual property was in the 1600s. It’s only in the 1800s and 1900s, specifically in the western part of the world that intellectual property started getting implemented on the ground. Broadly speaking, intellectual properties can be categorized as
- Copyright – For a particular individual/cluster of individuals/firms, who built a sculpture, a painting, lyrical music, movie/documentary, code, etc can protect it via copyrighting. A unique expression in a tangible form can be copyrighted with an aid of the U.S Copyright Office. Obtaining copyright specifies that the owner has control over displaying, altering, distributing their work. Any public showcase (offline or online medium) could happen only after getting their consent.
- Trademark – Every firm has a logo, name, brand mantra, etc for their good and services. To ensure that the logo, name… aren’t used in unappropriated ways and, consumers get to know the authentic provider, a trademark is a prerequisite.
- Patent – A patent, in essence, assists the inventor by having absolute rights to fabricate or sell their ingenuity for a specific interval, in exchange for public broadcasting of their invention. Broadly speaking a patent can be categorized into 3 types, namely, utility, design, and plant.
- Trade Secrets – In layman words, a trade secret could be considered as the ‘key characteristic’ in a company for having an edge compared to other competitors. The key feature could be a strategy, overall functioning, an algorithm, a common trait in every employee, etc. While the expiration of a Patent or a Copyright is unescapable, a trade secret never terminates until the secrecy is maintained.
As we have seen distinct types of intellectual property, lets now delve into what type of relationship blockchain has with intellectual property in terms of its protection.
The financial industry and healthcare/medical industry have experienced exponential transformations to date because of the regular utilization of blockchain technology in everyday operations. To transform furthermore and sustain it as well simultaneously, IP Protection needs to come on the ground swiftly. Analysing the intellectual property in blockchain applications, it’s sufficed to say that such applications function through the time-stamping feature. Time-stamping could be vaguely compared with pointers employed in data structures but with exponential upgraded security and accuracy. Similarly, in the medical industry, the blockchain framework has so far assisted in
- Safeguarding electronic health records,
- Updating doctors across the globe with the latest findings through thesis,
- Feasible procurement policies,
- Medicine supply chain management,
- Quality check and control etc.
Besides the industries mentioned above, the entertainment industry is another area where when the issue of IP protection gets resolved, it will flourish more rapidly. As numerous people are aspiring to become singers, movie directors, etc, having their respective Copyright, Patent, Trademark, or Trade Secret will certainly boost their morale.
Hurdles in the blockchain structure for implementing intellectual property protection:
The types of properties to date have been majorly designated to tangible goods. Being intangible implies that it can be utilized indefinitely via individuals without being depleted. Tangible products were divisible with usage and time, but that’s not the case with intellectual property, and hence a hurdle at the moment. Another issue at hand is the duplication of IP’s and reselling or merchandising of it as well. As the technology is at its “introduction stage”, policy builders and individuals working in legal institutions are experiencing ambiguity. One reason is that they don’t know the inside-out of the functioning of the blockchain platform. A storage query also exists. As the technology is decentralized, each user would have to store some portion with himself/herself. But the expected storage capacity required might be very high. Applications developed so far are mostly not interoperable. Due to which data isn’t getting shared across the grid making the whole point of decentralization become a paradox. Data getting leaked intentionally or unintentionally is another factor of concern. Leakage could happen in public ledgers or private ledgers. Appropriate algorithms, laws, implementation techniques, and policies would be required for each one separately.
Conclusion: Does the Future look bleak or boom for IP seen from Blockchain’s perspective?
After thoroughly analysing every aspect, its safe to say that it could be a boom instead of a bleak. Akin to the time the World Wide Web or subsequent technologies entering the worldwide picture, if PESTLE and SWOT are taken into consideration, IP protection and blockchain as a whole would surely make the world thrive. PESTLE means examining the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environment’s angle. While SWOT consists of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Generally, both PESTLE and SWOT are utilized while making a strategy for a particular firm. But these analyses could be used prior designing and implementing Intellectual Property Protection in the Blockchain framework as well.
We at Primafelicitas can be of assistance via Blockchain Consulting, DApps Development, and many distinct ways. We have been in the Blockchain field since 2014, and have helped several firms in accomplishing an edge compared to their respective competitors. As the captain/s of our ship (CEO and CTO) understand the technology and economy thoroughly, along with an energetic team, it would be an honor to help you.
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