Whenever the term blockchain is mentioned, the mind immediately thinks of cryptocurrency. Truly, blockchain is the technology popularly known to power the recording and security of every crypto transaction. However, its function extends beyond the crypto space. A cryptographic ledger as a concept is a system of recording that makes it very difficult or impossible to hack, change or manipulate what has been recorded. It is a digital ledger containing duplicate transactions on every computer system that makes up the entire blockchain network.
Due to this unique feature of blockchain technology, its usage has now extended to the protection of patents. Before now, cryptographic ledger had played a major role in the medical field to store records and research data. And as improved functionality, this benefit is now open to any field that needs highly secure protection for its trademark. These include real estate, law, voting systems, songwriting, supply chain, and logistics, digital products, business ideas, and so on.
Enforcing legal rights and preventing “thieves” from illegally using their content can be a daunting task for individuals in these fields. And even though their creativity is protected by the Intellectual Property (IP) law, there’s only so much difference that can make.
On a general note, Intellectual Properties (IP) can be classified into copyrights, patents, and trademarks.
What are Copyrights?
Copyright is the legal right that the owner of an intellectual property possesses. Copyright, without mixing words, is the right to use a copy. This implies that the original creators of the Intellectual Property (IP) and anyone they give permission to are the only ones with exclusive right to use or reproduce the work.
Copyright law enables creators and innovators of original ideas to comfortably use and duplicate their creative work while protecting them from unauthorized usage at the same time. When this occurs, the copyrighted material or idea becomes “public domain.”
Examples of materials that can have copyright are pictures, music, art, writings, research, and others.
To illustrate, suppose you wrote something new or innovated an idea or a piece of work that you don’t want people to reuse without your permission. As the originator, you have the legal right to copyright your work. And in that case, if others want to use or reuse your intellectual effort, they must first seek your permission.
This can be through calls, emails, or any other means you deem fit. When you give them the authority, they attribute you to the original owner and also use it only for purposes you see as appropriate.
The only exception to this is “Fair Use.” This is a situation whereby someone uses part of your work for educational, commenting, parody, or news purposes. In such instances, they haven’t been obliged to copyright the work.
With blockchain technology, copyright issues can now experience further improvement.
Since each piece of information is time-based and can’t be manipulated, the date of the information can be a shred of very crucial evidence in the court. It can clearly show who first pioneered the idea and who “copied or stole it.”
What are Patents?
A patent is when a sovereign authority grants property rights to an investor. This right granted by the authority gives the inventor exclusive rights to the design, patented process, or invention for a specified period in exchange for a comprehensive disclosure of the invention. They are simply a kind of incorporeal right.
Normally, a patent lasts for about 20 years from the period the inventor attempts to patent their patent by filing with the Government. But, with digital technology, your intellectual property can last even more than that as a patent. There are various things that can be patented; these include inventions or innovations, any new and beneficial process, the machine, discovery, manufacture, or composition of matter. Additionally, any new and useful improvement in a field (such as science and technology) may obtain a patent.
Suppose you’re a business owner or an innovator who has discovered or designed a unique and new product. You have clearly analyzed the benefits and value of your product, and you see that it will most likely be a revolutionary one. The best thing you can do in this situation is to first patent your product/idea. In other words, protecting intellectual property with blockchain technology. If you have a revolutionary iron melting machine that you feel would benefit the masses, you should protect it by having it patented. And, that’s what blockchain technology is offering.
This will help you steer clear of “thieves” who can take your idea, fund it and make it a reality, and ultimately claim its ownership.
One major challenge with patenting ideas is that other individuals can review your idea and study it to understand how it works. Afterward, they can make several adjustments, additions, and subtractions, and eventually bring forth another seemingly unique concept. This concept, which was fundamentally based on yours, will now be promoted as theirs, and you may have little to no control over it. This happens a lot in the technology industry and other similar industries where top companies base their product ideas on other companies’ ideas.
One way to manage this is to avoid stating the core mechanism that powers your product or to give incomplete details. Thus, it will be almost impossible to understand the main driving force behind your idea.
What are Trademarks?
A trademark is a class of intellectual property that consists of recognizable signs, designs, symbols, words, or words legally registered or established by consistent use as representing a business or product. Trademarks that are used to identify services are regarded as service marks.
For instance, if you trademark your company name, logo, or company tagline, it becomes an identity. The trademark represents a brand identifier for your company or your products. Examples of things that can be trademarked are Images, slogans, colors, and so on. A typical example is Tiffany Blue. This color is a trademarked color that represents Tiffany & Co. in marketing, promotional materials, online presence, as well as boxes, bags, and others.
Words, phrases, and pictures that are innovative are usually the most common intellectual properties companies trademark. However, you can also trademark any other unique feature about your business. A typical example is Coca-Cola bottles trademarking shape, Dell and Ford trademarking their family names, and even smells. Although these are termed non-conventional trademarks, they are used in every field to secure IP. The digital ledger can effectively protect trademarks as part of a trademark and keep companies safe from theft by competitors or others.
The power of blockchain technology in protecting intellectual property can not be overemphasized. It’s impossible to manipulate, change, or erase- unlike other intellectual property protection measures. With more advancements setting into blockchain technology, its strength in protecting and securing intellectual property can only grow stronger.