Blockchain based solutions for intellectual property management
Blockchain and IP rights
One of the most obvious applications of blockchain technology is as a registry of IP rights, to catalogue and store original works. In the UK, copyright is unregistered
and comes into existence automatically on creation of an original qualifying work. This means that, unlike registered trade marks which can be recorded and viewed on various registries around the world, there is often no adequate means for authors to catalogue their works.
As such, ownership can be hard to prove. It can also be difficult for authors to see who is using their work, and equally difficult for third parties using a work to know who to seek a licence from. The result of this is that authors are often unable to stop infringements or to make the most of monetising their works.
Using blockchain as an IP registry may help give clarity to copyright authors, owners and users. By registering their works to a blockchain, authors could
end up with tamper-proof evidence of ownership. This is because a blockchain transaction is immutable, so once a work has been registered to a blockchain, that information cannot ever be lost or changed. In theory, third parties could use the blockchain to see the complete chain of ownership of a work, including any licences, sub-licences and assignments.
Law firms are partnering with Blockchain platforms
In Europe and most countries, the rights to the invention belong initially to the first person to file a patent application (“first-to-file system”).
Therefore, the application date is very important in the patent process. Prior to this date, no protection is provided and unfortunately it can happen that a company is overtaken and finds access to a technology blocked by a better-organized competitor. A right to exploit the invention can only be granted by proving that serious preparation was made with a view to exploit the invention, which is often difficult to prove when the invention has been kept confidential within the company.
There also exists a need to prove a date of creation in terms of copyright. In this case the work or the software is protected from the date of conception, but how can this be proved at a later date?
Various solutions exist to guard against these risks and to be able to prove at any time the conception of an invention, a software or an artistic work. The safest way is to deposit a copy of the creation at a notary. Costs are generally limited, however this is a cumbersome procedure, particularly for companies that create inventions or lines of code every day that are worth protecting.
The law firm P&TS (Switzerland) has for example an agreement with the Bernstein Technologies GmbH (see below) which offers notarisation services for invention announcements based on blockchain technology, in order to establish irrefutably the possession of an invention or a work. The downloaded document remains confidential, but it is possible to prove at a later date that it existed at the date it was uploaded and that it has not been modified. It is also possible to request the publication of this document if required and to use it as a defensive publication to prevent a third party from obtaining a patent following this publication.
Blockchain and Intellectual Property Firms
Bernstein Technologies GmbH, is a Munich based company offering blockchain based solutions for intellectual property management.
Bernstein allows companies to manage the whole innovation lifecycle by creating a trail of records on the bitcoin blockchain.
Inventions, designs, proofs of use can be quickly registered and a blockchain certificate will prove ownership, existence, and integrity of any IP asset. Using Bernstein companies can secure trade secrets, prepare a strong prior use defense or reliably disclose inventions. Most notably, all notarized information will remain perfectly private thanks to a unique cryptographic layer.
Bitcoin.com has launched Blockchain-Based Notary Page onto notary.bitcoin.com and upload a document. It will then be etched onto the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin.com notarized Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper as its first document proof.
Blockai [now rebranded as Binded]
Blockai/Binded helps artists claim their copyrights and protect them for free. An artist can find out who is using his/her art or photos on the internet in seconds. By putting their work on Blockai, such as digital art or photos, they create a timestamp in the blockchain and receive a copyright certificate as proof.
“We are developing artificial intelligence to create unique fingerprints for all copyrighted works. Like Youtube’s Content ID system for the entire internet. We believe this technology can stop the majority of copyright violations and give violators a legal way to pay artists.”
An iPhone app for the easy notarization of photos using Bitcoin and the Factom protocol.
“Block Notary app allows you to store the digital fingerprint of your photos in the public ledger called the blockchain”.
“Copyrobo is a technology company that helps you secure your copyright anywhere in the world in less than 60 seconds. We use the world’s leading technologies such as Blockchain and Qualified Timestamps to help you prove and manage your copyrights. We designed Copyrobo to help you protect and, if you wish, share your creative content easily and securely.
We offer individuals and companies a variety of easy-to-apply copyright solutions (mobile and web) at affordable prices. We also offer a customizable solution for sharing your copyright information with the world — to deter infringement and encourage licensing.Copyrobo’s solutions are compatible with all evolving worldwide laws, rules and regulation that govern copyright protection. Copyright rules differ around the world, with special rules applying to the European Union and other countries.”
Proof of Existence is an online notary public service that allows its users to upload digital documents and get them verified by the blockchain
without exposing the content. The service is recommended for people with legal training and licensed by the state to authenticate the signing of documents.
It uses a distributed computing network to transfer the virtual currency from computer to computer. The benefits of Proof of Existence include anonymity, privacy, and getting a decentralized proof, which cannot be erased or modified by third parties or governments.
#Bitcoin mining hardware firm Canaan has acquired document timestamping service Proof of Existence. http://buff.ly/2rDgLUF
“The world’s most secure and resilient digital signature platform.
Immutability and programmable signing provide important improvements to digital signature and notary platforms. Signatura uses the Bitcoin blockchain to take advantage of these properties,
while Rootstock-based smart contracts are planned for sequential signing and other advanced features.”
Stampery enables users to notarize digital transactions and certify the existence, integrity, and ownership of any file or communication. Stampery is a verification and certification platform that generates legal proofs for all its customers sensitive documents using bitcoin’s blockchain.
Its service can be used to attest the integrity, existence, ownership, and receipt of any file or communication as well as to certify digital transactions to generate audit trails, protect its customer’s intellectual properties, and to prove proprietorship of digital assets. Stampery charges a service fee from its clients depending on the number of file transactions and utilization of storage space on a monthly basis.