Category Archives: intellectual property

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Blockchain Gains IP Credence Among Chinese Legal Institutions

Blockchain Gains Credence Among Chinese Legal Institutions

Blockchain has found its way to an internet courtroom in Eastern China to get justice for writers, reports

The painstaking effort exercised in getting justice for authors whose intellectual properties are misappropriated just got easier, as explained by a judge of an internet court in China,Wang Jiangqiao. He said:

“Writers used to resort to screenshots and downloaded content as evidence, which was hard to gain legal recognition as the process was not credible enough.”

But it seems with the perks of blockchain’s immutability and timestamp actions, the credibility of the facts stored on a blockchain is much more reliable. Wang added that:

“Blockchain guarantees that data cannot be tampered [with], due to its decentralized and open distributed ledger technology. Therefore, all digital footprints stored in the judicial blockchain system, [including] authorship, time of creation, content, and evidence of infringement, have legal effect.”

More so, plaintiffs have had to suffer the high cost of legal bills when seeking justice through the traditional method as Wang observed that “notarial procedures and hiring of professional lawyers push up the costs of seeking justice”.

The media outlet also reports that 107 prominent online writers have signed contracts to produce works in a “writers’ village” in the city’s Binjiang District of Hangzhou. Hangzhou is home to many, if not most, online writers in China.

Three internet courts have been situated in three districts: Hangzhou, Beijing, and Guangzhou. While internet-related cases are a norm because of the high internet activity in the country, Hangzhou appears to be in the front lead to adopt blockchain solution in solving copyright issues, first with writers.

The first time a case was solved through evidence brought forward on the basis of blockchain happened about five months back. A Chinese defendant successfully argued his innocence in the Chinese court at Hangzhou using blockchain timestamp data, clearing his name from charges of copyright theft.

It appears that writers are not the only ones who need the services of the internet court, as China is home to over 800 million internet explorers with online businesses at the heart of the activity. Other related case types being handled by the court include contract dispute arising from online shopping, product liability dispute arising from online shopping, disputes over internet service contract, disputes arising from the financial loan contract disputes and small loan contract disputes signed and executed on the Internet.

On the traditional side of things, other real-world courts are adopting the concept of blockchain as a reliable witness to intellectual property as seen in the case of the Russian Intellectual Property (IP) court successfully using a blockchain-based solution for storing copyright data.

Even though cryptocurrencies are banned in China, its Supreme Court seems to think blockchain evidence can be seen as legally binding material in court.


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€100K Prize to Be Won at EU Blockchain Hackathon

The European Union (EU) is offering a EUR 100,000 prize to the winning team of an upcoming blockchain hackathon.

The event is scheduled to take place June this year in Brussels, jointly held by the European Commission, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and its Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. Participants will compete to develop the best blockchain-based integrated solution to counterfeiting.

Dubbed the “blockathon”, the EU agencies have worked jointly to assemble the event, with the premise of discovering the most talented developers. The blockathon will focus specifically on tech applications that enforce intellectual property rights, with the winner entitled to a prize of EUR 100,000 (approximately USD 124,000).

The EU agencies involved in organizing the event stated that the competition is necessary to find a solution to the issue of counterfeit products in the European market. They estimate that 43 million EU citizens purchased counterfeit goods unknowingly last year, with current preventive systems inefficient and working in silos that criminal networks use to their advantage.

The executive director of the EUIPO, Antonio Campinos, believes that blockchain could be the solution to this problem: “The EUIPO is determined to explore the potential of blockchain to interconnect systems and ensure security and immutability of data in order to add trust to our legitimate ecosystem for the benefits of citizens, enforcers and companies alike”.

Prospective applicants have until 30 April to apply.

The idea exists in the private sector already

Blockchain technology has been utilized as an effective tool to establish and protect intellectual property rights since the early days of its development. A number of private sector companies and startups have developed platforms for just this use.

IPCHAIN Database is one such platform. It claims to protect intellectual property through a decentralized system that provides proof of authorship, while securely protecting shared content and transferring intellectual property. It is advertised as serving the needs of scientists, artists and inventors.
Bernstein is an alternative option that is available in the private sector. The platform is promoted predominantly to companies looking to secure intellectual property assets and innovation processes through the blockchain.


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