IP is a journey. Blockchain and encrypted storage can be your best friends

Long-term management of intellectual property (IP), meant filing patents and trademark registrations. Unregistered IP rights were often neglected, and even registered IP rights were considered to be a one-time process and mostly technical and administrative. The IP professionals were focused on achieving specific goals, and then forgot about them until payment was due.
All that was before digitalization has changed, initially subtly and slowly but now quickly and boldly.
High-tech businesses and creative businesses today know that managing their IP assets should not be a one-off task. It’s part of their daily routine. (Photo by da-kuk/Getty Images)
IP management is an everyday practice
High-tech businesses and creative companies are all well aware of the fact that they must deal with IP and related risks every day. This requires a change in mindset for all departments of a company, not just IP specialists.
Hire a new employee from another company? Initiating a partnership with the university? Fundraising from investors Testing with other labs and prototyping? These activities and many more involve core IP assets that expose the owner of these IP assets to serious threats. The misappropriation and infringement of copyright can range from trade secrets theft to copyright infringement. These risks can be minimized by taking the right measures.
Factors that drive changes in IP management
There are many factors that are driving IP management changes. Some are well-known, while others are less apparent. It is well-known that innovation at an accelerated pace is often not compatible with slow IP prosecution and filing processes. In order to protect and preserve IP assets in a highly competitive global marketplace, it is essential that legal and technical measures are taken.
Digital platforms that are built around public blockchains can be used to store encrypted data and provide a solution for modern creatives and innovators.
We may not realize that there are entirely new types of digital IP assets that require a new approach to IP management. These include constantly changing datasets, thicker layers beyond the boundaries of related patents and designs that are inextricably linked with software.
With public blockchains and encrypted repositories, you can establish an innovation timeline
New tools are needed to manage IP. This is an awareness that IP management can be a tedious task. Digital platforms that are built around encrypted data storage and public blockchains can be a great solution to modern creatives and innovators.
A public blockchain is at its core a global public ledger that is independent of any central authority or control. This registry contains only transactions from the underlying cryptocurrency, which powers and protects the blockchain network.
They are entitled to the “public” adjective. Anyone can get an updated copy of the registry. Anyone can add to it by submitting a transaction to the network. However, no one can modify it or delete it.
This decentralized ledger can be used to certify IP assets by inserting a cryptographic fingerprint for any digital object in a transaction.
Companies can create a timeline to manage all their IP assets using a novel IP management system that is built on a public Blockchain and a versioned repository. It’s easy, cost-effective, and has global validity.
A combination of a public blockchain and a versioned, encrypted data repository will create a digital IP management platform that can easily prove the existence, integrity, and ownership of documents. Every digital object is immutably linked to its owner and permanently timestamped.
Because digital certificates can be generated from a blockchain or issued directly by authorities, they are fragile and cannot be used without the data storage component. Any modification to the files that were originally certified will invalidate the digital evidence certificate. Because most of the confidential data innovators are interested is certifying, the data storage solution must also offer the highest level encryption. It should also be designed in such a way that no one can access the data.
The nature of innovation projects makes things even more complicated. It doesn’t matter how large an innovation project is, it goes through multiple iterations. This makes it difficult to keep an encrypted repository that contains each version of each IP asset that has been associated with the certificate.
A public blockchain is at its core a global public ledger that is independent of any central authority or control. This registry contains only transactions for the underlying cryptocurrency, which powers and protects the blockchain network. (Photo by peterschreiber.media/Getty Images)
Let’s take, for instance, the launch of a fashion garment. It starts with sketches and a brief, and ends with models, pricing strategies and lab tests. Every file deserves protection starting at the beginning and all through its life.
This is why it is crucial to have a clear trail of records that can verify the various stages of the project, new knowledge creation, and investments made in order to effectively manage and defend IP rights.
Companies can create a timeline to manage all their IP assets using a novel IP management system that is built on a public Blockchain and a versioned repository. It’s easy, cost-effective, and has global validity.
There are many benefits to being able to track all phases of a right’s life, such as smoother IP right audits or simplified due diligence in the context IP transactions.
Dr. Birgit Clark and Baker McKenzie, Johnson & Johnson
Crypto-Pie in the Sky How Blockchain Technology Is Impacting Intellectual Property Law?
Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law & Policy June 2019,
What blockchain-based IP management systems are needed
There are many situations in which IP assets can be involved. Digital certificates that are based on a public Blockchain and supported by a solid, private storage system can be used to address operational problems, implement best practices, and mitigate risk. These are just a few examples of such situations:
• Better Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs),
NDAs are the first line defense in cases of trade secret misappropriation and any other situations where technical or commercial know-how is shared (employees and investors, auditors partners, suppliers, …).). An annexed blockchain certificate can be used to identify the perimeter of shared confidential data in a blockchain-enhanced NDA. Although no sensitive information will ever be disclosed, it will make the agreement easier to enforce.
• Employees at risk
It is important to not hire an employee from a competitor. Any accusation of misappropriation would be best answered by a solid record chain that proves the development of the project over time.
• Copyright defense in practice
A composer may share her or his music with other musicians, recording studios and others. They can rest assured that their work is being regularly registered on the blockchain, which will allow them to prove their authorship. They will eventually be able use these digital certificates to strengthen contractual agreements or licensing schemes. This situation does not only apply to music. Similar situations could arise with jewelry, fashion and furniture as well as graphic design and other creative projects.
• Open innovation
Open innovation initiatives should provide participants with a simple way to verify ownership of contributions before they are submitted. This can be solved by a blockchain-based platform that removes any fear or friction around disclosing information to others.
• Strategic partnerships and collaboration projects
Start a R&D collaboration with another company or university. Registering independent contributions, coresults, and follow-up developments in a blockchain-registry is a great way to establish background, sideground, and foreground knowledge. These certificates can be used to reference in the contract frameworks that govern the collaboration.
• Startups
Startups are by definition focused on innovation. Yet, they often fail to implement good IP management practices until it is too late. They struggle to prove ownership of the technology that they pitch investors, or fail to provide a clear snapshot about the knowledge within their company when they admit a co-founder or key employee. These issues can be addressed by a blockchain-based IP management platform. It is as simple to use as any online storage site. This will provide significant benefits for the startup and increase its valuation.
• Trademarks are proofs of reputation and use
The trademark owner can effectively defend, renew and maintain registered trademarks by having a certified trail of evidence that proves actual use and reputation. Because the blockchain can handle all types of files, it allows the registration of many different evidence such as invoices and video footage from a public presentation. It also allows the registration of packaging designs and advertising copy. Companies can easily maintain a timestamped repository of trademarks using a blockchain-based platform.
• Prior use defense
It is crucial to have solid documentation that is accepted and valid in every market where the product is sold in order to be able to defend it. Blockchain certification is global in nature and can be used to register core technological achievements and business decisions, as well as pilot project outcomes. This makes it possible to defend a product even in complicated cases.
• Creative ideas
Advertising agencies, communication agencies, and architects are some of the businesses invited to submit innovative and creative ideas for public and private tenders. They are often powerless in the face of unfair use of their ideas. It is convenient and effective to register submissions on a Blockchain-registry in advance. This allows you to prevent misuse and, if necessary claim rights.
Amber is a great metaphor for blockchain: transparent and able to preserve things over millions of years. (Photo by AGEphotography/Getty Images)
Conclusions
If IP isn’t properly managed, things can go horribly wrong. Daily news reports feature stories about employees who steal trade secrets, big corporations exploiting IP of startups, small businesses, and damages that fashion designers suffer for copyright infringements.
Innovators can now supplement the traditional IP rights system’s protection with blockchain-based certifications. While IP specialists and law firms are the best qualified to help IP owners select the right tools and establish best practices, and create new contractual frameworks that leverage these digital certificates, innovators and creators have an unparalleled opportunity to protect their rights. Blockchain-based certification is also available to all.
Click here trademark Search to get more information about trademark search.

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