Blockchain and Intellectual Property: A Symphony of Innovation and Protection

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys India



Nobody anticipated that blockchain technology would grow to the size it was now about ten years ago. We used to discuss Bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Still, in the last five years, the utility of cryptocurrencies has expanded significantly, and practically every business is now benefiting from them.


Blockchain is one of the cutting-edge technologies fundamentally changing corporate operations and countless ecosystems for innovation and creativity. An alternate name for blockchain is Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Essentially, it is an unchangeable, transparent, and authenticated data database. Each block builds on the one before it, and the chain of knowledge can only go on as long as every piece of information is accurate. A blockchain aims to produce a digital asset that cannot change. It is a decentralized, chronological data source built on a record of information so that the general public has quick access. Decentralization gives the data an inherent integrity.  


Blockchain technology is a public, encrypted, and unchangeable digital federated ledger system built on a decentralized peer-to-peer network. The decentralized, shared ledger is kept up to date solely by the participants; outside help is unnecessary. Since data uploaded into the blockchain can only be altered upon detection, the technology is impregnable to manipulation. In today's world, when centralized systems are susceptible to cyberattacks, blockchain technologies are an intriguing option due to their unique properties of immutability, traceability, and lack of third-party creation. It offers multi-dimensional utility because it can store almost any data type, including cryptocurrencies, transactional data, contractual data, design data, etc.


What part does blockchain have to play in intellectual property (IP) law?


Blockchain holds great promise for various intellectual property protection strategies because it can guarantee that data hasn't been altered. Blockchain technology may boost efficiency and authenticity by establishing ownership rights, eliminating counterfeit, granting licenses via smart contracts, and registering trademarks.


Blockchain can be used as a technology-based intellectual property system where IP owners can store digital certificates of their intellectual property that have been hashed and utilize the platform to execute smart contracts to collect whatever royalties they have earned from anyone who uses their works or ideas. There may be a long wait for approval at patent offices and other regulatory agencies. The first-mover advantage could be compromised when incumbents must move quickly to safeguard their technologies and intellectual property. A decentralized registration system will be easier to use than a central one, making it easier to register new intellectual property, update files, and transfer ownership at any time. It will also allow regulatory agencies to operate more efficiently with fewer resources.


Decentralized ledger technology would also address standardizing patent rules throughout countries, significantly improving IP administration efficiency, expediting the invention process, and promoting information sharing via the ledger. Blockchain can contribute substantially to protecting authors' and artists' rights by providing an unquestionable record of the creation and ownership of digital content. Smart contracts built on the blockchain can automate royalties and licensing, guaranteeing that content creators receive just compensation for their work. Consequently, the likelihood of copyright infringement and piracy is reduced.


The corporate world frequently faces the problem of trademark infringement. By establishing a trademark registry that cannot be altered, blockchain can assist in solving this issue. As a result, fewer fake goods may enter the market because it will be simpler for businesses to confirm the validity of trademarks. [i]All interested parties have access to an unchangeable shared record of intellectual property rights because of the transparency of blockchain technology. The trust between producers, inventors, and users may rise, reducing disagreements.


When blockchain data is stored, it will be easier to track and identify IPR infringement, such as counterfeit goods, parallel imports, and other problems, and provide valid evidence. It will help customs officers identify counterfeit goods and prevent them from entering the local market. The system can stop the sale of fake medications nationwide by monitoring every step of the supply chain network.


By proving when a piece of intellectual property was generated or when it entered the public domain, blockchain's timestamping capabilities can act as a digital notary. This can help resolve previous art disputes and pinpoint the invention's timeframe.[ii]


A non-alterable chain of proof for copyright ownership can be established with blockchain technology. If someone were to alter the data on the block, the hash value would be updated, but the next block would still utilize the initial hash value that connected the first block, warning the system of any interference. Blockchain provides an unchangeable way to track who owns the original work. In the unlikely event that a copyright ownership claim is ever contested, the data in the block can be accessible to prove who the IP's owner is, as it can maintain the original copyright date.




The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is aggressively investigating blockchain technology's possible uses, advantages, and effects on IP ecosystems. Researchers are looking into how blockchain technology might change innovation, simplify IP licensing and recordkeeping, provide legally acceptable IP proof, or allow IP enforcement in court.


WIPO plans to use blockchain technology's distributed ledger and smart contracts shortly to automate procedures, cut expenses, and do away with mistakes that come with manual operations in the IP sector.


Utilizing intelligent contracts to license trademark rights


Trademark rights licensing via blockchain is interesting because it does not require a third party or additional external support. The two parties' agreement is written in computer code, including self-execution cryptographic signatures. Since no human contact exists, the code handles all contract transactions automatically.


Due to the immutability of blockchain, once an intellectual property (IP) item is stored there, it cannot be changed or removed. This feature is handy for giving precise ownership verification. On the blockchain, creators can timestamp their work to create a traceable record of its production and ownership. In copyright disputes, identifying the original creator is crucial.




Conclusively, the convergence of blockchain technology with intellectual property rights (IPR) presents considerable potential for fundamentally altering how we oversee and safeguard artistic creations and inventions. Blockchain technology's intrinsic characteristics, including its immutability, transparency, and decentralized structure, provide a solid basis for tackling intellectual property management issues. Blockchain can improve transparency, lower disputes, and simplify convoluted IPR procedures by offering a safe and traceable means to document intellectual property ownership, transfers, and usage. Legal frameworks must change as technology advances and provide precise instructions for integrating blockchain technology into intellectual property.


The cooperative synergy between IPR and blockchain has promised to promote innovation, safeguard creators, and improve the effectiveness and equity of the intellectual property ecosystem. To fully use blockchain technology in protecting and advancing intellectual property rights, stakeholders—including legislators, attorneys, and technologists—must collaborate as we navigate this dynamic environment.

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys

About the Firm

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys

AddressD-45, UPSIDC, Site IV, Kasna Road, Greater Noida - 201308, National Capital Region, India
Tel91-120-313 2513, 91-120-350 5740
Contact PersonTarun Khurana

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