About 10 years ago, no one knew that blockchain technology would become a giant as it stands now. We used to talk about Bitcoin and ICOs only, but the scope of its utility has changed quite drastically in the last 5 years, and pretty much every single industry is reaping its benefits. In this article, we will talk about intellectual properties and how blockchain technology can play a vital role to help this niche prevent fraud. So basically, if you happen to be a creative person in any domain, let it be writing, designing, or any media-related work, the work you do is essentially protected by intellectual property rights. However, the internet is full of unethical practices and anything that surfaces on this medium can easily be stolen. But for a creative person, who uses his intellect to create a masterpiece, watching his work getting stolen is the greatest misery. Guess what? You can now use blockchain technology to protect your intellectual property and ensure what you create, stays yours forever!
Why is Protecting Intellectual Property Such an Imminent Concern?
Because it is your work, you put your weeks thinking about something and then several nights in making it a reality and in the end, someone else takes credit for your efforts. Is it ethical? No! It’s outrageous for the creator! Moreover, in the past whenever someone tried to make a copyright or IP claim in the court for possession, the bureaucracy and middlemen used to mess everything up. Due to the involvement of several unnecessary people in the process, the duration of resolving the issue was prolonged and it was very difficult to identify the culprit and dish out a judgment.
What is Blockchain and How Can it Protect the Intellectual Property?
Put simply, blockchain is a data structure or a method to store digital records in a decentralized way – implying that no central authority has access to the operations of this system. As a result of this robust approach, a blockchain-based system is always unhackable, transparent, and of course, immutable as well. It turns out that in order to protect an IP, these are the three core requirements. Let’s talk about this technology in detail to understand how exactly it can protect the IP… Just to set the perspective here, please note that using this technology for IP rights protection is not just a random discussion. In fact, several companies are already doing it, including a variety of art-based startups that register and sell their paintings via the blockchain-based system. Since Artificial Intelligence is also progressing at an incredible pace and is providing feasibilities for an array of industries, several companies have started taking its advantage to detect and ultimately prevent the unauthorized use of intellectual property. However, that’s just the ‘identification’ aspect – in order to keep the findings and other data stored in a secured environment, we need blockchain technology!
The Use of Smart Contracts
As the name suggests, it happens to be an agreement between two parties, just like in the real world. However, the primary and most advantageous distinction is that it does not require any central authority to be claimed or executed. Every smart contract is a self-executing entity that binds two parties together in a secure and decentralized digital environment. Apart from the fact that smart contracts increase security, they also simulate one-window-operations. For instance, you no longer have to visit different offices for registering a patent, checking its assignment, validity, negotiations, sales agreement, payment execution and then inform each and every patent office for the transfer of your patent as everything can be done automatically with the help of smart contracts and the ownership is transferred digitally. As a result of this, the complexity is reduced to a significant extent and the duration can also be brought down to minutes, rather than weeks or even months in manual procedures. The primary way the fraudsters steal your work is by portraying that you never did it in the first place. This is quite ingeniously addressed by blockchain technology as it does not cater to any ‘delete’ command from anyone inside or outside the network. Therefore, the records for an entity can always be appended, but not reversed. So, once you create something, you can transfer its IP rights to someone else, but no one can remove the information that you owned it in the first place!
Bad governance and outdated processes have always been a problem for all intellectuals who roll out their ideas in front of the broader audience and seek IP protection. Since each jurisdiction has a different regulatory framework for dealing with intellectual property rights, it makes it really difficult to claim something internationally, thus rendering the overall system inefficient and incompatible. However, blockchain tackles this issue heads on by offering a unified platform where a unanimous framework can be designed and everyone can agree to it. If we compare this solution and approach with the cryptocurrency niche, it is worth noticing that the transaction rate would be lower (comparatively), but we certainly do not need thousands of patent transactions per second – even if the rate is 1 transaction per minute, it would change the entire landscape of the patent industry forever.
Equality for Small Organizations
The dense niche of IP rights is ruled by a handful of industrial giants and every second patent is coming from them, which often gets approved seamlessly. The real problem is faced by SMEs and Universities as they find it very difficult to go through the lengthy and complicated procedures and if something goes sideways, it’s even more complex to claim the intellectual property and get the issue resolved. But with the help of blockchain technology, the process has become incredibly simpler and straightforward and it allows pretty much everyone on the internet to get a patent. Therefore, this feasibility nourishes the environment where more entrepreneurs can pitch in their ideas, get financed, obtain an IP, and if need be, claim it with just a couple of clicks for efficient settlement.
How Does OriginStamp Offer a Solution in this Regard?
Basically, the purpose of OriginStamp is to protect your documents. If you look at the internet, there are millions of documents with no proof of origination or guarantee that they are in the original format. As soon as a document is forward from the source, the likelihood of it getting tampered or used in fraudulent activities is insanely high and this is what we plan to avoid, particularly for intellectual properties. The idea is quite simple, yet advanced. Once anything is uploaded on the system, it is timestamped and the encrypted ID of the relevant person (the IP rights holder) is also linked to the document. As a result, whenever someone looks at the document, it becomes very clear who the originator was and when was the document timestamped for protection. Therefore, even if someone uses your work, it will always be linked back to you so regardless of their intentions, you will always be credited on the internet. Once that is done, the record is updated on blockchain and it absolutely removes the likelihood of anyone tampering with the intellectual property. Please be advised that the system also caters to the requirements of big players in the industry and allows bulk upload as well, while ensuring that it’s friendly from the user’s perspective and only takes a click! Moreover, in order to enhance the utility of the platform, OriginStamp allows you to integrate more than 1500 cloud file storing apps (e.g. Google Drive and One Drive). Just to let you know about its extensiveness, please note that as an artist, you can also protect your photos and voice recordings other than plain text documents. If you are a startup or an individual working on your own, this is probably the best solution as it costs nothing to create the first 5 timestamps. Whereas, if you go for the manual procedures in the real world, you would spend a couple of hundred dollars for the same thing.
Every developed country has its own IP rights protection framework/law, but the crux remains the same: the unauthorized people should not claim the right to something that they have not created. Therefore, OriginStamp has removed the difficulties and unnecessary prolonging of the process and focused on the crux only. So regardless of where you are based, you just need an internet connection to protect your work in any format your desire, without worrying about your complex and outdated local regulations, as our solution is quite minimalistic, simple, and straightforward that it addresses the basic demands of all jurisdictions in the World.