In the information and digital age, the technological progress is a driving force for the
economic growth and development. Moreover, it is indisputable that in the nearest future the
importance of technology will only increase, since the introduction of new technology is faster
every year, and the innovation cycles become shorter. The expansion of technology allows the
use of new business models, what ultimately contributes to the economic growth.
The global technological and cultural development as a whole, the creation, expansion
and use of existing and new technology are closely connected with the protection of intellectual
rights at international and regional levels.
This, in turn, has led to the emergence of new phenomena of the information exchange,
and it has set a lot of serious challenges before the professionals in the field of IP, forcing them
to develop in this direction and to adapt to new conditions.
Today, intellectual property is facing a new challenge: the blockchain is one of the most
actual topics of the recent times. The blockchain technology has become so widely known due to
the fact that such types of cryptocurrency, as Bitcoin and Ethereum, were created on its basis.
So, let us explain in detail what the blockchain actually is and the advantages we gain by
using it. The blockchain (derived from the English word “a blockchain” (a block chain), what
literally means “a chain of blocks”) is a continuous sequential chain of blocks containing the
information that is built according to the certain rules. Most often, the copies of the block chains
are stored on numerous different computers independently of each other, and as a result, the
storage devices are not connected to a multi-unit server. This database stores a constantly
growing list of ordered records called the blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to
the previous block. Thus, the blockchain is an open ledger of the information, which is
exchanged and checked by the participants of the peer-to-peer network. It can be used to record
and track transactions. The blockchain and other technology of the distributed ledger create
reliable and transparent records, allowing many parties of each transaction to check the
information entering the ledger in advance, but neither party can make changes to the ledger
subsequently. Each transaction or block is transmitted to all participants in the network and must
be checked by each participating node through solving a complex mathematical task. After
checking the block, it is added to the ledger or chain. To put it simply, the use of the encryption
ensures that users can change only those parts of the chain of blocks that they “own” in the sense
that they have private keys, without which recording to the file is impossible. In addition, the
encryption ensures the copies synchronization of the distributed chain of blocks among all users.
From the point of view of information theory, a truly innovative nature of the technology
of the distributed ledger is related to the fact that it ensures the integrity of the ledger through the
control of all participants in the chain and eliminates the need for a central regulatory authority.
In other words, the transactions are checked and confirmed by the numerous computers that store
the blockchain. Therefore, the technology is considered to be “practically unbreakable,” because
in order to change any information in it, a cyber attack must be directed (practically) to all copies
of the ledger simultaneously.
The blockchain technology initially incorporates security at the database level. The
concept of the chains of blocks was offered by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. It was first
implemented in 2009 as a component of the digital currency – Bitcoin, where the blockchain
played the role of the main common ledger for all operations.
Due to its potential, the blockchain technology is interesting for many different
industries. The data various types can be added to the chain: from cryptocurrency and
transactions to data files, project documents. Using the blockchain, you can keep records, store
the data, make transactions in any sphere of the life activity: financial transactions, real estate
transactions, logistics, insurance, traffic violations, identity cards and other things.
In this regard, the question arises about the possibility of protecting this technology as
intellectual property subject matters by obtaining patents for inventions for these technical
Having carried out some patent search among the applications filed for the inventions in
this field, I would like to note that the greatest activity of patenting has been traced since mid-
2017, and due to its relevance, patenting in this field will, in my opinion, only grow.
Here are a few examples of patents, after getting familiar with which, you will
immediately understand that new blockchain technology is mainly patented as inventions of a
system and technology/method, but there are the examples of protection as utility models of a
platform, however, when patenting this option, special difficulties can occur, due to the fact that
only the devices that are contained in a single housing and consist of the parts interconnected by
rigid connections can be protected as utility models:
– WO 2017/171733 (published on 05.10.2017) “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR
MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION OF IDENTITY BASED ON THE BLOCKCHAIN”;
– RU 2 639 015 C1 (published on 19.12.2017) “METHOD FOR CONTROL
AUTHENTICATION AND THE PRODUCT QUALITY IN THE PROCESS OF THE
MANUFACTURE AND IMPLEMENTATION”;
– EN 181 439 U1 (published on 13.07.2018) “THE DECENTRALIZED
TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM OF STORING AND THE DATA EXCHANGE OF
TRANSACTIONS IN A DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING NETWORK”;
– US2018302222 A1 (published on 18.10.2018) “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR
ACCESS CONTROL IN DISTRIBUTED BLOCKCHAIN-BASED INTERNET OF THINGS
– US2018300382 A1 (published on 18.10.2018) “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR
TUNING BLOCKCHAIN SCALABILITY FOR FAST AND LOW-COST PAYMENT AND
– WO2018183099 A1 (published on 04.10.2018) “BLOCKCHAIN-BASED
TRANSACTION PROCESSING METHOD AND APPARATUS.”
From the presented analysis on the patentable technical solutions in this direction, we can
conclude that the protection of intellectual property is an important integral component. After all,
the patents are not just an abstract concept; they play an invaluable practical role in our life and
stimulate the development of innovations and new technology in various fields.