Developed by a person or group of people known by the pseudonym – “Satoshi Nakamoto”, blockchain is a form of digital ledger that can be used to record and track transactions and information. It is a transparent form of record, where multiple parties can perform transactions that will be recorded in the ledger. It also forbids a single party from making any changes in the entries once they have been recorded. “Each transaction or “block” is transmitted to all the participants in the network and must be verified by each participant “node” solving a complex mathematical puzzle. Once the block is verified, it is added to the ledger or chain.”
“Prime Objectives of Blockchain are Accountability, Security, Transparency, Identification and Chain linked events.”
Due to its “near unhackable” nature and the secure, time-stamped record, blockchain technology is fast becoming a preferred choice of a myriad of industries including pharmaceutical, luxury, automotive, and other consumer goods industries. Blockchain is being used to track the progress in supply-chain. It also aids in the monitoring and recording of the cryptocurrency transactions. One of the main benefits of blockchain technology is that it ensures integrity of the ledger and eliminates the need of third-party or central verification.
Since blockchain offers a near unmistakable record of information, it has a plethora of uses in the management of Intellectual Property. It can aid in the verification of the original creators and inventors of a particular work or invention. Not only can it assist the creators or owners of IP, but it can also help IP offices keep a secure record of the IP applications and assignments.
Blockchain offers IP offices an effective method of recording and registering IP rights including keeping a record of the first date of application of a trademark, first use etc. It can also keep an unalterable record of a patent grants and licences. This could further benefit in tracking the entire life cycle of a particular IP, leading to smoother IP audits.
Blockchain technology can also play an important role in case of a copyright. Since a copyright is a form of unregistered IP right, blockchain can provide evidence of the conception of the work and details of the original creator. The time-stamping feature of blockchain can also be of immense aid in providing immutable evidence to prove the ownership of any work. Establishing a clear ownership right can further aid in case of infringement, especially in the cases where the work is not registered immediately at the time of creation.
The ‘Smart Contract System’ is another solution to IP management and other IP Transactions. ‘Smart Contract System’ is a blockchain solution that offers a method of holding, executing, and monitoring contractual codes. These can be used to establish and enforce IP agreements like assignment and licencing. These contracts also allow the “transmission of payments in real time to the IP owners.”
Qua the unmistakeable record provided by Blockchain, a record of patents available can be made available to the public. This can further aid the stakeholders in “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.”
Blockchain technology offers an encrypted ledger that can show every single transaction in the supply chain, from the very inception of a product to its sale to the consumer. It also allows the authorisation of the genuineness of the product and helps one distinguish it from fake.
In the light of increasing focus on digitization in India, the Government of India has taken up various initiatives in incorporating Blockchain in the digital infrastructure. In furtherance of this, “NITI Aayog has been exploring a platform called ‘IndiaChain’ – a blockchain enabled infrastructure for Indian enterprise and government.”
While the use of blockchain technology is still at a nascent stage, blockchain is soon becoming a “new type of internet.” The propagation of blockchain can provide streamlined and comprehensive solution to the myriad of problems faced by the IP holders and authorities.