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Why an important EU public agency chose to leverage blockchain tech

The IP Register blockchain was launched last year, when the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) created the genesis block on April 17th. This blockchain is used to record trademark registrations and updates as well as design fillings.

The EUIPO announced this week that two new nodes had just joined the network, Italy and Poland, bringing the total number of nodes to six. Current nodes are hosted by the EUIPO and the patent offices of Malta, Lithuania, and Estonia

The EUIPO’s TMView and DesignView databases were historically centralised. Any centralised database is always at risk of going down and also has to be highly secured in order to prevent unauthorised modifications. Blockchains, on the other hand, are distributed and multiple nodes store copies of data, which creates resilience and renders the database immutable. Any intellectual property database must be secure and highly reliable.

Blockchains are also known for allowing to time stamp transactions, which is crucial when registering intellectual property. Moreover, blockchains offer transparency and anyone with access to it can see which changes have been made, and when.

The EUIPO is linked with the various patent offices in the EU as well as the other worldwide patent offices, which means that data transfer between offices is an essential function. The IP Register blockchain currently supports data transfer and allows for real-time updates as well data validation.

There are plans to add priority claims and certificates functionalities in the future, and IP wallets are currently in a research phase. Within such an IP wallet, users would own design tokens or trademarks that could be traded, licensed, or financed.

It appears the IP Register blockchain is based on the Multichain technology. EUIPO is also currently investigating anti-counterfeit solutions based on blockchain.