How Blockchain Protects and Monetizes Intellectual Property in Software

In the world of software, the protection of intellectual property rights is a necessity. Software is an intangible asset and as such cannot be “stolen” in a physical sense, like a car. But, in our increasingly digital world, it is becoming more important for creators to protect their creations and protect their right to be rewarded for their efforts. To do that, their IP must be protected from competitors and thieves.

There are already several methods of protecting the intellectual property of companies. But, digital assets are under a threat that is always increasing. New technologies, however, offer new means of protection. This is evident in the growing world of blockchain.

What is intellectual property?

When we talk about intellectual property we are essentially talking about the ownership of inventions and ideas. Valuable assets that do not have a physical form. 

Software is an intangible asset and there are four types of IP rights that protect its owners in different ways — patents, copyright, trade secrets, and trademarks. They cover everything from the exclusive right to make, use, and sell inventions (Patents) to licensing IP and creating modified versions of the invention (Copyright).

Together these rights protect the owners of IP from rivals and thieves. But, as technology develops, so too must the measures employed to protect valuable digital assets.

How can blockchain keep IP safe?

As with anything when IP is being unlawfully used, the first step the victim needs to take (second only perhaps to asking the guilty party to stop) is to prove ownership. This may not be an easy task. However, blockchain does this by design.

Blockchain technology allows for peer-to-peer transactions which are recorded on immutable distributed ledgers. It can also facilitate the secure execution of smart contracts — processes that ensure certain conditions must be met for a transfer to be made.

These ledgers provide a way of proving who owns an asset and safeguards against duplication and counterfeiting. The underlying protocol of the technology has never knowingly been hacked making it the safest option for the protection, selling, and licensing of digital assets.

Companies are already using blockchain to protect and liquidate IP

It is only natural for a company to protect its intellectual property. Smart contracts today facilitate negotiations (like the licensing of IP to other companies) and blockchain-based platforms are emerging that enable companies to liquidate their assets without compromising security.

Companies like Polymath (a partner of LEXIT) have developed a blockchain-based model that allows the owners of IP to migrate their abstract assets into smart contract enabled tokens.

The tokenization of abstract assets allows the owners of the IP to keep their assets safe and also provides the option to sell or license them to others with ease.

In the same way, other startups like LEXIT are developing solutions to help companies find buyers who are willing to pay for unused IP or the right to build on the ideas of others. 

Developing a new idea can be costly and the research required slows companies down. This has led to many big players looking to buy IP as a time-saving mechanism. In the tech world, internet giants like Facebook regularly buy up patents. 

It is no wonder the phrase “M&A is the new R&D” has entered the industry’s lexicon.

The market for intellectual property is booming and, like any thriving market, this attracts bad actors raising the need for companies to protect themselves. 

Blockchain technology can offer that protection whilst simultaneously making it easier for value creators to receive their deserved reward.

Stay tuned for more updates about the LEXIT token distribution and the LEXIT Platform launch.

Image source: PEXELS

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