On April 17 last year, the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) created the genesis block on its IP Register blockchain. The blockchain is used for logging all registrations and updates to trademarks and design filings. This week the EUIPO announced that the patent offices of Poland and Italy are the latest to join the network, bringing the number of nodes on the network to six.
Why blockchain for IP
Historically the EUIPO’s TMView and DesignView have been centralized databases. Any centralized database risks going down and must be adequately secured to ensure no unauthorized changes. In contrast, because blockchains are decentralized, multiple nodes store copies of the data creating resiliency and rendering the database immutable. Security and integrity are critical for an intellectual property database.
One of the key things blockchains are known for is the ability to timestamp transactions. These timestamps determine the order of financial transactions, which is critical for money because otherwise people might spend currency they don’t have. But it’s also crucial for intellectual property registrations.
Another benefit of blockchain is transparency, so everyone with access can see what changes were made and when.
The IP Register blockchain roadmap
By definition, the EUIPO connects to the patent offices spread around EU countries as well as other patent offices worldwide. So data transfer is a vital function of the blockchain, creating a shared database.
Regarding data transfers, so far, the IP Register blockchain supports real-time updates and data validation. Seniority claim verification and an IP history view are coming soon. And after that, there are plans for priority claims and certificates, which are currently a work in progress. The creation of an IP wallet is still in the research stage.
If you have an IP wallet, you likely have a trademark or design token that could enable it to be traded, licensed or financed. Tokenizing IP has already been launched in the private sector, including by IPwe.
We mentioned six IP Register blockchain nodes. The other nodes are hosted by the EUIPO, and the patent offices of Malta, Lithuania and Estonia. Hungary, Latvia and Portugal are like to be added in Q1 2023.
Multichain is the blockchain technology used for the project, but we are awaiting confirmation.
The EUIPO is also working on an anti-counterfeit blockchain solution. Meanwhile, in February, WIPO published a report on blockchain in the IP sector.