Blockchain and IP: building blocks for a better future


Blockchain could play a significant role in the IP sector. It has the potential to support idea generators and those who work with them to create profits from innovation. But this will not happen overnight. It was easy to adopt blockchain for cryptocurrencies, in which there was no central verification method to support the new currencies. Applying the blockchain to a sector that has already proven (though often slow and challenging) methods will be more challenging.

In this article, Toni Nijm, Chief Product Officer and Strategy Officer, CPA Global will discuss how the blockchain could have a greater impact on the IP sector than it was for the financial services industries and what the challenge will be in creating the right path to adoption for technology.

An introduction to the blockchain

The technology industry began to pay attention to the blockchain when Bitcoin was launched as the two are integrally connected. Bitcoins are rewarded with those that help create and maintain the blockchain that records transactions when Bitcoins are bought and sold.

Many computers around the world own a copy of the blockchain that is able to remain accurate. Furthermore, the whole system is protected by military-level cryptography. The dispersed structure ensures that there is no single point of failure, which means that it is almost impossible to hack the network, counterfeit transactions or freeze them for legal purposes. Each new block in the chain is created with a copy of the previous block connected, which means that in any case a record of the past is included in the next version of the blockchain.

Blockchain technology is generating excitement in a number of areas because it is able to help solve complex problems, particularly those where transactions occur globally and there is a need for transparency.

What does the blockchain offer?

The most obvious advantage of the blockchain is that it allows all those who are part of the creation and maintenance of the blockchain to be part of the ecosystem. During the creation of Bitcoin, the intention of "Satoshi Nakamoto" to invent was to create a state-free virtual currency that was not controlled by any bank or government.

With blockchain, instead of creating what would effectively be a central bank or a governing body to oversee Bitcoin, the creators have enabled technology and the community that supports it to take on this role. This means that the transaction with Bitcoin and other encrypted currencies is quick and easy. It is also considerably cheaper than the cost of transactions through a traditional bank.

The financial sector seems obvious for the application of blockchain technology but, in almost all cases, large banks and finance companies have stopped using the decentralized element, instead creating a closed accounting register and private sector for digital transactions. In December 2007, the Australian Securities Exchange announced that it would start using a blockchain to track equity holdings and conduct equity transactions. However, its blockchain must be very different from the Bitcoin public register. It will be a private network, by invitation, managed by the exchange in accordance with the laws and regulations.

The role of Blockchain in the IP industry

The foundation of the value of most companies is intellectual property. The current IP industry landscape already has third-party authenticators for brands and patents that exist in the form of national patent and trademark offices, as well as some international organizations. So, how could the industry take advantage of the blockchain technology?

Current regulators and IP authenticators were created in the pre-digital era. Most countries around the world have their own IP management systems. Although there is some consistency, it is also a great deal that is unique to each individual jurisdiction. Before international trade was omnipresent, this was less of a problem. Companies have developed their internal market before focusing on internationalization. More recently, especially after the advent of the Internet, this has become more of a problem. The ideas are international from the beginning.

Existing companies on the Internet can internationalize incredibly fast and effectively, but managing their brands and their ideas across multiple territories is incredibly difficult, requiring a lot of time and money. Blockchain could potentially help reduce this problem.


The introduction of blockchain technology to the IP industry has the potential to offer a powerful new tool to millions of innovators around the world giving them the ability to protect all phases in the cycle of innovation.

If industry can find a way to adopt technology in the short and medium term, then technology has the potential to significantly support idea generators and those working with them to create revenue from innovation. .

Toni Nijm, chief product and strategy officer, CPA Global .

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