Blockchain IP risks and how to manage them


Chris Smith

Blockchain IP risks and how to manage them

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With the increasing use and importance of blockchain technology, IP risks will be inevitable. Chris Smith of Reddie & Grose examines how companies might overcome these obstacles.

To say that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology have attracted a lot of attention in the past decade would be an understatement. Described by some as a “disruptive technology”, it is predicted to revolutionise banks and other financial institutions, but also to have a wide range of other applications. This has led to huge investments in research and development, with banks and big tech companies rushing into the field and a flush of new blockchain-focused startups. It is worth therefore giving some thought to the IP risks facing such companies and what steps they can take to manage them.

The ever-rising interest in blockchain technology can be measured by the filing figures of blockchain patent applications, which can be seen to increase year on year since blockchain first appeared (see here). This is despite blockchain technology’s being on the fringe of patentable subject matter and its having becoming considerably more difficult to obtain a US patent for inventions made in this field as a result of the US Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp v CLS Bank International.

“The copyright and open source risk is something that can be controlled by companies because the particular licence terms of each blockchain project can be reviewed.”

Chris Smith, Reddie & Grose, blockchain, risk management, cryptocurrencies, startups, banks, research and development, patent infringement, open source

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