The future starts with innovation and the protection of intellectual property fosters it. The idea, if not protected cannot provide its full benefit, ultimately hampering the process of future development. In the Intellectual property regime it is very important that the inventor has complete knowledge of the use of his work, but with the invention of a higher standard of digitalization at such an incredible pace, the infringement of these intellectual property rights has increased.
The concept of Blockchain technology has gained momentum in the past few years. This is because this technology provides a decentralized and more efficient way to deal with the work. With the use of this technology in the legal frame, lawyers can simplify all digital as well as non-digital work. Along with its use in contract management and sorting of documents, litigation, and settlement, the technology can prove to be very beneficial if implemented along with the IPR arena. The article explains the working and need of using blockchain technology in the IPR regime.
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What is blockchain technology?
Blockchain is referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), which makes the history of digital assets immutable and transparent through decentralized and cryptographic hashes. The blockchain comprises three important concepts: blocks, nodes, and miners. Each blockchain consists of multiple blocks, and each block has three basic elements. Data in blocks, a 32-bit integer called a nonce.
The nonce is randomly generated when the block is created and a block header hash is generated. The hash is a 256-bit number associated with the nonce. It must start with a large number of zeros (that is, very small). When the first block of the chain is created, the nonce will generate a cryptographic hash. The data in the block is considered signed and is permanently bound to the nonce and hash unless it degrades.
The miner creates new blocks in the chain through a process called mining. In the blockchain, each block has its own nonce and hash, but mining blocks is not easy, especially in large chains, as it also refers to the hash of the previous block in the chain. Miners use specialized software to solve the very complex math problem of finding a nonce that produces an accepted hash.
With only 32 bits of nonce and 256 hashes, there are about 4 billion combinations of nonce hashes that need to be mined before the correct one can be found. When that happened, the miners should have found a “golden nonce” and their blocks would be added to the chain.
If you make changes to a block early in the chain, you must save all subsequent blocks, not just the changed block. This makes it very difficult to operate blockchain technology. Think of it as “mathematical certainty”, as finding a golden nonce requires tremendous time and computing power. If the block is successfully mined, the changes will be accepted by all nodes in the network and the miners will be rewarded.
One of the most important concepts of blockchain technology is decentralization. Computers and organizations cannot own chains under this system. Instead, it is a distributed ledger across the nodes connected to the chain. A node can be any type of electronic device that keeps a copy of the blockchain and makes the network work.
Each node has its own copy of the blockchain, and the network must algorithmically approve each newly mined block in order to update, trust, and validate the chain. The transparency of the blockchain makes it easy to see and view all the actions in your ledger. Each participant receives a unique alphanumeric identification number that identifies their transaction.
With an increasing number of venture capital investments and blockchain-related patent applications, minimal practical product testing to consider larger live implementations, or investing heavily in development more and more companies are moving towards proprietary blockchain software.
The key features of blockchain technology, such as the ability to record and store information in a distributed database, immutability, and the ability to eliminate intermediaries, make it suitable for industries such as financial and legal services (for example, multiple parties are the same) to access the database to track information about the product.
Use of Blockchain in IPR
The blockchain works on a distributed ledger technology. Multiple separate computers (nodes) are used to record, share, and synchronize transactions in their individual electronic ledgers. Blockchain might be utilized as a platform for inventors to list their inventions/digital works in the form of ledgers with brief descriptions, thereby operating as an IP marketplace. In addition, inventors/ patent holders who are in search of potential licenses can be acquainted with the criteria of the invention.
In the cases of invention, it is comparatively an easier task to attain a patent by applying for it in the patent office but it becomes difficult in the case of creations under the copyright as the lack of official documentation hinders the use of ownership by the creator thus the Blockchain technology also acts to protect these IP rights. From the perspective of management, it will create a unified decentralized system and accelerate the distribution of this information in the form of a ledger.
Copyright companies can assist users resolve all types of conflicts with the help of the blockchain, whether they wish to prove proof of authorship, communicate secret information with partners, transfer IP rights, or opt to launch a defensive publication. Rather than scheduling a meeting with a lawyer, they can give lawyers access to the original publication, which is stored on the blockchain. A lawyer can swiftly prove whether or not the organization is misrepresenting in case of any copyright infringement due to blockchain’s ability to save time-stamped and auditable documents.
Content providers who want to patent their work would have to sign up for a blockchain-based IP management platform and upload their intellectual property to the blockchain. There is no risk of data disclosure without the user’s agreement because personal information will be maintained on the blockchain. After successfully registering on the site, the following step is to add intellectual property for which a patent application is required.
On the blockchain network, content creators can submit IP-related information. A content creator can upload their intellectual property after entering the above information. Traceability and audibility are enabled by storing them on the blockchain, preventing data alteration or duplication. Once the intellectual property has been added to the blockchain, it may be made visible to all other members of the network and cannot be changed.
Intellectual properties form the crux of any business organization. Hence, for the growth of the organization, it is important to protect them. Business companies especially small-scale businesses have to be very prudent with respect to their goods and services along with their ideas and protection of them is needed on a greater scale. As these companies aim towards rapid growth, time management and organization of work plays a very important role, the inception of Blockchain technology in building those businesses and protection as well as working of IPR helps to boost the organizational operations.
With the increasing number of IPR registration each year India and other countries have seen a surge of data inputs under the IPR sector. These data are important to be stored and verified when needed. Intellectual properties are unique in themselves for their very nature of being intangible. This not only makes it difficult to prove the rights but also the amount of data related to each property increases.
In such cases, it is very important to have a managed and protected form of working by the organizations dealing with intellectual property rights. Blockchain as a concept is simple and the implementation is systematic. Merging the field of IPR with Blockchain technology can give rise to a better working of the IPR sector.