The Tryst Between Intellectual Property and Blockchain Technology

By Saiesha Dhawan, Intern at Excelon IP


In today’s date, blockchain technology is commonly associated with cryptocurrency and NFT, which these concepts are inherently linked, blockchain technology has a lot to offer independently. The technology was initially created to secure a chain of blocks cryptographically so that the timestamps in the documents couldn’t be tampered with. It wasn’t till 2008 that the bitcoin was invented as a form of cash by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Blockchain Technology

To understand the relationship between blockchain technology and intellectual property, it is important to figure out how blockchain technology functions. In simple terms, blockchain technology is a decentralised ledger of all transactions. This technology serves as a storage of information which is encrypted in independent blocks and are linked with hash pointers which ultimately links one block to another block to form a chain, each block is turned into a hash. Since all the blocks are linked, and each new block is built upon previous blocks, blockchains are virtually unalterable.

IP & Blockchain

Intellectual property and blockchain technology have a two-way relationship, the intellectual property framework regulates and protects the technology whereas the technology improves the functioning of intellectual property. Given the security, transparency and immutable nature of the blockchain technology, it provides an efficient solution for record keeping of transactions without any regulator or third-party authenticator, which undeniably has a significant impact on intellectual property.

Blockchain technology provides a platform for intellectual property to enhance its protection and registration by providing a cost effective and faster method. Implementing blockchain technology in the area of intellectual property allows tamper-proof evidence for copyright and other IP ownership, registration of intellectual property, controlling and tracking registered and unregistered intellectual property, providing evidence of first use, establishing agreements or licenses through smart contracts etc.

Scope of Blockchain Technology and IP

  1. Registration 

The registration of intellectual property can become more efficient and easier with the help of blockchain technology as it helps cut down the process and the procedure which is otherwise lengthy and exhaustive, especially for trademark and design. Moreover, the technology has the potential to develop a register for all IP which can be beneficial. This will serve to be extremely useful in cases of trademark claims of non-use, for identifying ownership, execution of royalties, tracking licenses, transfer of intellectual property etc.

  1. Smart Contracts 

Smart contracts are contracts which are based on a blockchain technology computer program, this program executes contracts automatically when a predetermined condition in a contract is met. In context to intellectual property, smart contracts can simplify the intellectual property involved in a contract such as its assignment, validity, negotiating the sale agreement, executing the transaction and relaying information to the respected offices.

  1. Creatorship/ Ownership

Blockchain technology can provide evidence or proof of the conception of the intellectual property, giving it a significant stand within the area of intellectual property, especially those which are unregistered. Along with the above, the technology can also ascertain the use, period of validity and qualification requirements. Which entails that uploading an intellectual property and the details of its owner/creator/author can make a time-stamped record which results in solid evidence for the same.


Undoubtedly blockchain technology has the power to change the intellectual property system as we know it, yet, the technology is not devoid of disadvantages. There are challenges and issues that blockchain technology faces; firstly, the high cost and immensely high energy consumption and secondly, the inability of the technology to be counted as admissible evidence in some jurisdictional courts around the world. The adoption of blockchain technology in the legal framework has unfortunately not been done in some countries. 

In India, blockchain technology has no specific law. The technology is unfortunately not governed or regulated. However, the absence of legislation has not impacted its future. The Government of India has conveyed a positive intent toward its implementation and a bill is underway in the parliament.  

Presently, the Indian Information Technology, 2000 provides legal recognition and protection to blockchain technology as it regulates all transactions which are made through any sort of electronic communication.

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