Trademark registrations enable organisations to establish exclusive rights to the protected mark. But, what if you create IP that you cannot or do not want to register, such as copyright, unregistered designs, trade secrets and other unique creations? Here, blockchain technology can provide the solution, as Fenna Dorgelo explains.
It can be a challenge for IP owners to establish evidence of ownership and creation for IP that is not registered, such as copyright, unregistered trademarks and designs, trade secrets, recipes and other unique creations. Unlike registered trademarks, which are recorded in the registries of IP offices, unregistered IP rights are not only unrecorded but, in some cases, purposefully kept private and confidential.
Blockchain technology offers the ideal solution for collecting and timestamping evidence of IP creation for both registered and unregistered IP rights. Not only does it provide a central repository for all kinds of IP evidence, but it also automatically and irrefutably records the date and time of creation of all uploads.
Blockchain and IP: How the technology works
Blockchain operates as a kind of digital ledger for recording transactions, as with financial transactions using cryptocurrencies. All kinds of transactions can be recorded, from transfers of deeds or titles, to the creation of a new work.
Once information is uploaded, it is captured in a ‘block’ and fixed in a transaction ‘chain’ of multiple blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a 'hash', a unique code that links to the previous block. This not only ensures data is securely encrypted, but also provides irrefutable evidence of the content and upload date.
Blockchain and IP: What can you record on the blockchain?
All kinds of creations can be recorded on the blockchain, from logos and design drawings to manuscripts, music, software and even less tangible work, such as the description of a recipe or business process.
Uploading your creation to the blockchain does not itself establish ownership of IP rights. However, it can serve as proof of the date of existence of what has been captured. Evidence captured via the blockchain is already considered valid in Italy, China and some US states. Several European countries are now also investigating the acceptance and evidentiary value of data recorded in the blockchain.
Novagraaf can support you to record your IP on the blockchain, using Equinox Blockchain. To find out more about blockchain and IP, speak to your Novagraaf attorney or contact us below.
Fenna Dorgelo is a Junior Associate at Novagraaf in Amsterdam.