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BLOCK-CHAIN TECHNOLOGY AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Disruptive technologies such as Blockchain and the Internet of Things will have a profound impact on the way we live and work. They will require rapid adaptation in our workplace.[1]

Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

Introduction

The November 2016 demonetization in India was a critical motivator for the country’s march toward digitalization and becoming a digital country where there are no cash transactions. Blockchain characteristics such as distributed computing, secrecy, authenticity, non-repudiation, data integrity, and data availability can all help a huge country like India move to a cash-free economy[2]. Blockchain and Bitcoin are tightly interwoven. Bitcoin was introduced first in the year 2009, and it was the first time that blockchain technology had been used. In his initial paper, Satoshi Nakamoto, who is the inventor of bitcoin, used the terms “block” and “chain” interchangeably. But, it is only recently that they have been merged and applied as one term – ‘blockchain’ – in addition to it, it is also recognized as an important technology.

Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India, Bank and Emirates, and National Bank of Dubai announced the experimental establishment of a blockchain system for worldwide considerations and trade financing in October 2016. Both banks are the first in their respective countries to look into using blockchain networks for financial services. The Mahindra Group was an early adopter of blockchain in India. In 2016, Mahindra Group and global IT solution provider IBM announced their intention to create a cloud-based blockchain-backed supply chain finance application with the potential to transform the country’s supplier-to-manufacturer financing transaction system[3].

What is blockchain technology?

A blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, and land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved[4].

Blockchain is a type of data storage system, which is why updating, hacking, or defrauding the system is arduous. A blockchain is just an electronic register of dealings that are replicated and disseminated all over the network of the system, which makes up the blockchain. Blockchain technology can be utilized to set up a permanent, public, and transparent ledger system for collecting sales data, tracking, digital consumption, and compensating content creators like wifi users or musicians. Simply said, blockchain technology is a distributed, decentralized ledger that traces the origin of a digital asset[5].

Block-chain technology and Intellectual Property Rights

The potential to use blockchain technology for the management of IP rights is vast. Recording IP rights in a distributed ledger rather than a traditional database could effectively turn them into “smart IP rights”[6]. The first and most important use of the technology in the domain is a “Smart register” for maintaining an online registration of IP assets and registering patents, trademarks, and so on, to address the slowpoke and money sinkhole disputes surrounding IP asset ownership.

Asset protection and intellectual property rights have long been a subject of worry in India, and in certain cases have even prevented or impeded foreign investment. For the very same purpose, the Central Government has worked hard to improve the country’s intellectual property (IPR) system, with recent measures such as expediting time-to-grant, boosting IPR in the educational sector, increasing the number of examiners, and so on, all pointing in the same direction. The most significant move forward, however, can be observed in the IPO’s latest tender to investigate the use of AI and Blockchain to construct the “IndiaChain” platform. It is anticipated to be the biggest blockchain deployment in the world. Despite the enormous difficulty of integrating, the IPO has created the groundwork for Block chain’s integration into the IP ecosystem, taking into account IP registries and the vast power needs of a Blockchain-based infrastructure.

Conclusion

Blockchain is a potentially disruptive business technology that is currently in its early stages. Indian businesses, notably financial institutions, are increasingly interested in embracing the technology through the development of use cases and pilot testing. Existing active implementations are few and primarily internal to the corporation. They are permission-based and tightly looped even when expanded to inter-organizations. Apart from businesses that employ blockchain technology, governments, regulators, and agencies must also adopt a new mindset to leverage the technology.

Users may be concerned about the use of their personal information. Consumers who do not want their data or copies of their data retained can opt-out of blockchain technology. Blockchain has been chastised for the enormous environmental and monetary implications associated with its storage requirements. The government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has lobbied for the application of Blockchain in e-government and various organizations and enterprises. The internet offers customers access to a broad selection of material; it frequently jeopardizes the original creator’s privacy and recognition.

By utilizing features such as time stamping to validate and secure vital data, blockchain safeguards the legal owner’s digital intellectual assets (including research publications!) while providing evidence of ownership. Once it’s about the long-term nature of this technology, it is very much likely that it will be formally recognized as proof in most courts and used by most authorities in accordance with their specific domestic legislation, thereby unifying the entire IP cycle. Blockchain technology has great perspectives to meet the requirements of IP around the world. The quicker IP offices incorporate this into their daily operations, the better the performance in terms of the daily activities and tasks that are carried out in the work. The technique will be valuable not just for improving trials, but also for enforcing intellectual property rights and resolving IPR infringement issues.

Author(s) Name: Shreya Patel

References:

[1] ‘Adapt to disruptive technologies: Modi’, Statesman News Service | Hyderabad | February 19, 2018 11:16 pm < https://www.thestatesman.com/india/adapt-disruptive-technologies-modi-1502588437.html> accessed on 11th June, 2022.

[2] Vijaya Kittu, Manda., & Aruna, Polisetty, “Status Check on Blockchain Implementations in India”. International Conference on Technological Innovations in Management Ecosystem. Visakhapatnam < Status Check on Blockchain Implementations in India by Vijaya Kittu Manda, Aruna Polisetty :: SSRN > accessed 13th June , 2022.

[3] Vijaya Kittu, Manda., & Aruna, Polisetty. (July 27 & 28, 2018). “Status Check on Blockchain Implementations in India”. International Conference on Technological Innovations in Management Ecosystem. Visakhapatnam < Status Check on Blockchain Implementations in India by Vijaya Kittu Manda, Aruna Polisetty :: SSRN > accessed 13th June , 2022

[4] ‘What is Blockchain Technology?’, (International Business Machine [IBM]) <What is Blockchain Technology? – IBM Blockchain | IBM>  accessed on 17th June , 2022

[5] What is Blockchain technology? How does it work? (cointelegrapgh.com) < What is blockchain technology? How does it work? (cointelegraph.com)> accessed on 17th June, 2022.

[6] Birgit ClarkBlockchain and IP Law: A Match made in Crypto Heaven? (WIPO Magazine )< Blockchain and IP Law: A Match made in Crypto Heaven? (wipo.int)> accessed 13th June , 2022