Barclay Damon
Barclay Damon

Buffalo Business First: Blockchain Technology Could Have IP Law Applications

Despite being the new kid on the block in terms of technology, blockchain could start playing a role in traditional intellectual property law.

One impact is in copyright protection, said Denis Sullivan, a partner at Barclay Damon LLP.

“You might find a photograph on the internet and think, ‘Oh, I can use this.’ It may be copyrighted but you wouldn’t necessarily know,” he said. “Even if you’re willing to pay someone for the use of it, it’s really hard to find out who owns it. On the other hand, it’s really hard to find out if someone is stealing your work because it’s not organized.”

Blockchain could present a solution, according to Sullivan. As an open ledger that can be used to record and track transactions on a shared database, a worldwide database could be created using blockchain.

“If you created a work and were able to instantly upload it to the blockchain and say, ‘I created this on April 29 and here it is,’ that would be a permanent and indisputable record of when that was created,” he said. “If someone wanted to see it or access it, there’d be a record of someone accessing it and copying it. You could instantly know that someone has accessed it and more easily track them down to stop them from copying it or get some money out of them.”

Read the full article, featuring additional commentary from partner and Intellectual Practice Group Leader Denis. J. Sullivan, here.