The convergence between Blockchain technology And Intellectual Property Rights

Characters of people holding a blockchain network illustration

Introduction

Blockchain is an evolving technology which enables stakeholders to protect information exchange in sophisticated ways. With the onset of lockdowns due to Covid, work from home has become the new norm. This shift in paradigm calls for innovative methods to share valuable data without being tampered in any manner. Blockchain has the potential to transform interactions between multiple industries to be more transparent and secure thus attracting financial players into investing in the technology. For example, blockchain that started as a secured technology for cryptocurrencies has now found application across various industries like healthcare, education, travel businesses so on and so forth. The cryptographic security of data provided by blockchain technology has caught the attention of C-suite executives that implies that most companies are currently patenting inventions involving blockchain technology.

Features of blockchain technology

A blockchain is a distributed ledger that records transactions in real – time. However, the transactions are secured by obtaining the consensus of the respective participants thus managing any manipulations or errors that may occur while maintaining the data quality.Blockchain

Source: PoV_Blockchain_Media_interaktiv.indd (deloitte.com)

The main features of a blockchain include:

  • Providing a unified platform for all transactions involved between various nodes of the blockchain.
  • Ensuring transparency between customers and regulators across the various industries involved.
  • Helping in substantial cost reduction for the overall transaction process.

Patenting blockchain inventions

In patent regime, blockchain technology broadly falls under the category of software inventions. Therefore, in India, the relevant objections for blockchain related patents are likened to those that may appear for software patents since they include application software and cryptography. Accordingly, the most frequently occurring objection is with respect to section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act, because the blockchain is mainly a database ledger. In accordance with the section 3(k), the use of database along with AI may be considered as either an algorithm or a computer program per se. However, if the inventor is capable of indicating a technical advancement in using a tangible product by the use of blockchain technology in combination with AI, then such inventions can be patented.

Blockchain technology for management of ip

The application of blockchain in combination with AI in the recent years has influenced the IP ecosystem drastically. The application is helping companies on various grounds that may include:

  • Identifying lucrative opportunities in the marketplace sans the potential commercial risks by summarising the overall patents available in any sphere of interest at a faster and more cost-effective manner,
  • Establishing clear ownership rights especially in proving infringement for abstract works like music or dance for which IP rights are not registered immediately at the time of creation in the current framework,
  • Licensing trademark rights through smart contracts and
  • Assisting in counterfeit reduction by verifying the products’ origin based on unique identifiers.

Thus, the combined use of blockchain and AI in the IP ecosystem can streamline IP transactions with respect to authentication and verification in copyrights, trademarks and patent areas. Also, companies are now using this technology to reduce the number of patent infringement lawsuits against them. 

Conclusion

In the recent years, the Government of India has laid a number of initiatives on Blockchain for digitizing Indian economy. In pursuit, the NITI Aayog has been exploring a platform called ‘IndiaChain’ – a blockchain enabled infrastructure for Indian enterprise and government.

Further, the Indian Patent Office has announced a tender for ‘Expression of Interest for Making use of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain’ at the IPO, for easing patent search and analysis. The AI engine requires to learn before implementing a given task. But since patents are techno-legal documents, the AI engine has to store data related to law as well as technical information related to every field of study that can be patented. Therefore, each AI engine may be designed to store data related to each class of patents, for example electronics.

In view of the plethora of knowledge and information available, innovations that use AI with blockchain to ease the access to any particular data with precision and at minimum possible time is the need of the hour. This can help accelerate the rate at which discoveries happen in the near future.

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Best regards – Team InvnTree   

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 Unported License

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