What Impact Will Blockchain Technology Have On Intellectual Property Laws?

Most of us still don’t even know what blockchain is or what it does. But the technology is still advancing and growing, and that means we have to ask questions about its potential — including the possibility that it will greatly impact other industries. Intellectual property law governs how we protect intangible properties like art or information. Because those properties are almost always digitized, it can be difficult to protect them from hackers or pirates.

IP law is often broken down into four distinct categories, each with its own set of protections. These include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. 

Anyone who has ever turned on a VHS tape or DVD has seen the preemptive warning about the legal penalties for illegally duplicating or stealing the content within. They are rarely implemented anymore, but those are copyright protections. Even books and music are protected by similar laws.

Blockchain is basically just a string of digital information. Each “block” on the chain stores important — and better secured — information about a transaction, like dollar amounts and parties involved. Most importantly, each block is different, with its own unique code. Blocks along a blockchain can be viewed publicly, but because there are potentially millions and millions of them, they become nearly impossible for would-be hackers to manipulate in order to steal the relevant information. In that way it becomes much more secure.

That’s why the technology is so important to the realm of IP law. It’s a means of defending information that needs the most protection.

J.D. Houvener works for Bold Patents Chicago and is an expert in this type of legal concern. He said, “Patents can be offered for significant and novel improvements on existing technology, as well as for different methods of achieving the same functional result. In regards to blockchain, this means that different organizational systems for the encrypted ledger, and different ways of displaying the same data may be eligible for patenting.”

These aspects of blockchain and IP law will allow new or growing companies to more successfully create and new, recognizable brand. This allows a lot of growth area in the relevant markets, especially with new startups in places like Silicon Valley, which could lead some companies to realize a great deal of profit.

It’s not uncommon to misinterpret or misunderstand what terms like “blockchain” or “IP law” really mean. Not sure what we’re talking about? No problem. You should contact an intellectual property or patent law attorney to talk about your next steps regardless of whether you plan to begin or new company or continue growing an old one using new technologies or patents.

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