Blockchains are the most expensive and most inefficient databases one can imagine. This is exactly what makes them interesting for certain processes in Intellectual Property management.
Do you believe that blockchain is here to save the future of IP management? In an engaging presentation delivered during a live seminar on May 16, 2018 in Munich, Dr. Richard Brunner, Chief Legal Officer of the Dennemeyer Group, thoroughly challenged the established notion of blockchain as a salvation technology.
Although blockchain patent registrations reached a peak within the areas of IT methods for management and digital communication in 2017, Dr. Brunner showed that the blockchain concept is not as new as one might believe. Wei Dai coined the term "cryptocurrency" as early as 1998 and Satoshi Nakamoto published his famous whitepaper, "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System," in 2008.
It became clear that blockchain is not a new standalone technology, but a combination of already existing well known technologies.
Indeed, blockchain has several interesting features that offer market potential, such as peer to peer transactions, chronological recording of transactions, transparency and decentralization. In the market of IP management, the blockchain technology could potentially be employed as proof of ownership for unregistered Intellectual Property rights, proof of use for trademarks or even as digital representations of IPRs and related transfers, for example, as blockchain tokens. Furthermore, paying official fees in cryptocurrency such as bitcoin may become widely accepted.
Nevertheless, Dr. Brunner’s presentation made it clear that official intermediaries such as patent offices or collecting societies cannot be replaced easily and that IP experts will continue to be required for legal matters and examinations. Moreover, blockchains are not yet acknowledged by most courts and are highly inefficient due to slow ticking transaction processes. Currently, they are further associated with an incredibly high energy consumption.
Pointedly put, the mentioned downsides make blockchains the most inefficient and expensive databases one could imagine, but they still have characteristics, which provide new options in the area of IP management, especially for record keeping of unregistered IPRs.
The event was organized in cooperation between the Dennemeyer Group, the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, Vaultitude (former "IPCHAIN Database") as well as the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU).
Find out more about the potential -and downsides- of blockchain technology and their impact on Intellectual Property by watching Dr. Richard Brunner's latest webinar on this topic.
The authors contribute to this blog in their personal capacity. The views expressed are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Dennemeyer IP Solutions, Dennemeyer & Associates, or Dennemeyer Consulting.