Blockchain Solution to Intellectual Property Protection

How Vaultitiude is using a blockchain technology within IP field to safeguard all of the users’ creations and safely apply their copyrights

During the past year everyone everywhere went crazy about cryptocurrencies and in particular, the so called crypto gold — Bitcoin. However, it’s likely that they haven’t got a single clue about the fascinating technology behind them called blockchain. So what it is that makes blockchain so tempting that multiple industries are exploring its possibilities?

One of blockchain use cases is easily seen in the intellectual property (IP) law and practice. The protocol know as “proof of authorship” could provide the authors of digital information with undeniable evidences that proves their authorship. Moreover, blockchain offers possibilities for IP protection and registration and as evidence, either at the registry stage or in court. We have Dominik Thor, CEO of IPCHAIN Database with whom we will talk more about how this quite new technology could change the IP world.

1. The system of intellectual property (IP) rights has a series of distinct disadvantages and challenges to be overcome, especially when it comes to registering copyright. How does Vaultitude help to solve those?

Protecting intellectual property in all its forms can be highly complex and abstract for everyone but experts. It starts with the term that is not always clearly understood. IP includes everything ranging from inventions and scientific findings to all types of artistic work, including but not limited to code, text, photos, music, 3d work, designs etc. Then there is the abundance of trade secrets, confidential information, strategies and other things that do not fall within any of the other categories but represent highly valuable assets of a company.

IPCHAIN Database, or Vaultitiude as the software will be called, reduces the inherent complexity of IP protection, provides users with a clear overview of their IP and allows to solve previously complex issues. The platform encourages the user to safeguard all of their creations by storing them in a safe digital vault, a central feature of Vaultitude. Further, the user will be able to, thanks to immutable Blockchain technology, easily and safely acquire proof of his/her authorship for the practical application of copyrights, make defensive publications, share confidential information, sell or license his work or get in touch with IP professionals to successfully file patents and trademarks.

2. What are the practical use cases it provides?

Right from the very beginning we have been in close contact with leading players in the IP industry and have benefited from their tremendous support in identifying existing difficulties and developing strategies how to use automatically), the major prerequisite is being able to prove that you had some idea prior to anyone else. That is a simple enough concept, however legally proving just that has been difficult in the past. How can you prove just when exactly you wrote down your idea and are the testimonies of colleagues and friends really sufficient in court? The answer, most often, is no.

Storing information on a website, that can be edited at any time, certainly will not be a sufficient type of proof either. That all changes once you introduce Blockchain as a means to prove your rights. With this immutable ledger you can document the creation of IP as well as who has been given access, who bought it etc. This is the central idea behind Vaultitude.

3. When it comes to gathering to your development team, how complicated/easy it was to find the right people? And where did you find your team?

As with all new industries and technologies, the actual number of experienced developers is severely limited. What stroke me as pretty surprising – however less so if one considers that the Blockchain community has its roots in being proponents of free transfer of money and often is critical of any outside or central regulation – was the fact that all the projects I came across tried having all developers as full-time employees and mostly avoided outsourcing.

At Vaultitude we followed a more traditional view as used by leading companies and also supranational organisations and stakeholders in IP. We wanted to have the best possible developers working on our software and that means choosing guys that come with a lot of previous experience and recommendations and establish a long-term partnership. We do have our internal tech guys, such as a very experienced CTO, but we strongly believe that by combining the talents of a pool of different coders, each with their own strengths, we can provide the very best solution possible.

We work with the blockchain development studio LimeChain, which we encountered through DLT Capital, a partner network of blockchain experts. To us, LimeChain represents the ideal solution of a team with highly dedicated experts that each focus on different aspect of our software Vaultitude. They provide services from technical development for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to full-fledged decentralized applications (dApps). In relation to Vaultitude, LimeChain created the blockchain architecture and smart contract development, the coding of the actual application, user experience, and UI design. We work with a team of 8 people and thanks to their vast project management experience we can advance at a brisk pace. As you understand, Vautitude software relies strongly on constant innovation – something that we, as a team, achieve, on daily bases.

4. Do you think that companies intending to maintain proprietary rights in software will likely experience challenges?

Filing patents on software is tricky. The code itself is copyright protected but code can be rewritten and modified so it is rather the central idea that needs to be protected via a patent. To allow for that it has to be unique and new and that very much depends on the perspective of the patent authority.

I think a lot of developers are not considering to protect their IPs as this can be a time consuming process that requires the help of patent lawyers with an in depth understanding of code to create an application that doesn’t infringe on prior art and still has that novelty aspect to it. Needless to say this can also cost a lot of money. Especially with a view to Blockchain technology, this means that the current forerunners, small startups, are missing out and it will be the lagging behemoths who actually successfully file patents. The European Patent Offices is conducting a research project on the subject of Blockchain patents – that is patents with a Blockchain “element” in the claimed invention, that will be looking at patent filing statistics, where the inventors are, where they file, with whom they collaborate, top applicants, top inventors, citation analysis etc. I do not doubt that we will all be surprised to see the name of big corporates as patent applicants, maybe even from industries that so far have take a more critical view on Blockchain, such as big banks.

From the perspective of being a provider of IP protection services, I think Vaultitude can help by providing the means for quick defensive publication and proof of authorship. We specifically consider software code or game mechanics as an interesting sue case and work with some leading computer game developers to come up with a good solution.

Dominik Thor is the founder and CEO of IPCHAIN, a company focusing on using blockchain technology to better protect intellectual property rights. Currently, they are the only company in this field directly working with leading IP organizations such as WIPO and major international patent offices. Dominik studied in Vienna and Miami and started his career working for international banks. In addition to his role at IPCHAIN, he has co-founded a biotech company with a strong R&D focus.

Vaultitiude is a blockchain platform to enable users to safeguard all of their creations, make defensive publications, share confidential information, sell or license their work or get in touch with IP professionals to successfully file patents and trademarks.

About the Author

Margaret Dobreva is Head of Marketing at LimeChain. She has been involved in blockchain projects for the past year and passionately believes in the power of this technology. An entrepreneur by nature, she has also co-founded her own NGO with a social & cultural impact called Common Future, with which she organizes concerts and various initiatives with social benefit.

Blockchain development and consulting studio with extensive experience in building blockchain solutions for startups and corporate clients. Company is driven by the philosophy to help pioneer the development of blockchain, one of the most groundbreaking technologies to develop this century. LimeChain is united by those two passions – belief in the power of results and in the power of blockchain.

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