Blockchain Technology: A Way to Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

By Justino | An Angle of Truth | 4 Aug 2021

One of the many viable ways a business can generate revenue is via its Intellectual Property (IP) through blockchain technology. As an entrepreneur, once you have successfully built an ingenious and market scalable product or service, you are set to explore every aspect to generate revenue. It can be a business’s most valuable (only) asset. 

A strategic handling of a business’s intangible assets (e.g., patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks, etc.) can catapult the enterprise toward huge global recognition. Proper deployment of a business’s intellectual property can establish the business as a market giant and label it as an industry expert, thereby attracting and sustaining a bespoke client base. The following are common examples of IPs- Songs, Books, Inventions, Trademarks, etc.

Although this sounds easy peasy, entrepreneurs still face real time problems of protecting their IPs even in this information technology age. Stealing, converting and pirating of ingenious artwork has become the order of the day. This is where the buzzing technology that is blockchain technology comes in.

How Entrepreneurs Leverage Blockchain To Protect Their IPs

You will agree with me that this emerging technology dubbed blockchain technology appears to have the capability to solve almost any problem (dry jokes)- but yeah. There is a whole lot that this technology of trust can offer our world. The usefulness of Blockchain technology goes beyond its popular firstborn- cryptocurrency. It is now used to permanently safeguard records in several fields; from medical science, to NFTs and other IP.

Artistes are open to protecting their intellectual property by registering the same at the relevant agencies (Trademark registry, Copyright Commission, Patent registry) in their jurisdiction or country. This is very important so as to enable entrepreneurs and business people reap the full fruits of their innovations and designs. As a condition precedent to exploring other options, entrepreneurs should make sure to register their IPs at these official agencies.

Blockchain technology gives the entrepreneur the option of storing his innovation in a blockchain and issuing an evidence of the originality and ownership of that intellectual property.

An example of a blockchain based website that helps creatives protect their IP- i.e., Original artwork and image is Binded. It saves these IP on a blockchain and issues a certificate to the owner that certifies the authenticity of the artwork. 

Kindly note that, although blockchain is doing a great job of authenticating and protecting IPs, until the governments of this world decide to leverage the technology to protect their citizen’s IPs, an entrepreneur should conduct what we will term- a two-factor authentication of registering with the relevant agency and protecting via a blockchain based service.  

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Blockchain Technology

What blockchain based IP protection services do to prevent the theft of IPs is to establish a digital record of the IP and process, they in turn, issue certificates to the owner. It is a smart businessman that goes the extra mile to certify its ownership of an IP especially via blockchain technology.

Intellectual Property and Blockchain

One of the many perks of Blockchain technology is that it avails its users a feature of “immutability”. This means that no human or vacuum cleaner can up and manipulate the history or certification process of the ownership of an innovation. An imposter cannot successfully contest the title of an innovation with a blockchain registered owner. With the concept of smart contracts, owners of blockchain registered IPs are able to issue licenses to licensees who are interested in using their IPs, thereby commercializing their IPs and getting royalties therefrom. Blockchain also affords us a level of data protection.

The smart contract feature on blockchains enables users to gain access to the IP if a user fulfills the necessary conditions, i.e. allowing the intending user’s e-signature. This way, owners of IP and innovations either allow or deny users access to use their intangible assets or IPs. The smart contracts also facilitate the collection of royalties from licensees should a Licensor decide to charge Licensees for gaining access to his innovation.

Although there is a level of security that the current Internet of Things offers, Blockchain technology is a step further when it comes to securing our data, innovations and IPs. With the emerging technology, creatives can now store patents and copyrights on blockchains to afford creatives the necessary security and IP protection.

So there goes your 2-factor authentication. It is important to register your IPs with the government agencies, but storing the same on blockchains is also the further protection you may explore in the world of today.

N.B: Please take note that this piece is merely for informational purposes alone and not construed as business or investment advice. Please conduct your due diligence before the execution of any decision based on this article.

The writer, Taiwo is a transactional legal practitioner in the Tech and IP space. She is glad to answer your questions and know your experience via the comment section below.

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