We’re Not Blockchain Experts, But…
By: Tom Hochstatter, President
Most days I have the mantle of marketing for our burgeoning team here at Techson. Inherent in that is I read and review hundreds of IP-related articles each week to feed our social media platforms, educate our elite researchers and inform our product development teams.
I am seeing, with increased frequency, much ado about blockchain across the IP industry from myriad of solution providers serving patents. Much of this focus is on the chain of title for patents as they wander their 20-year lifecycle from original inventors and assignees to M&A roll-ups or corporate buy-outs, to NPEs seeking economic returns, to eventual expiry.
While an important effort to: a) insure proper ownership, b) reduce confusion when researching patents, c) properly assess encumbrances, etc. – is it the most pressing IP issue our industry faces? Wouldn’t a handful of simple policy changes at the world’s leading patent offices begin to fix this issue with mandates to keep accurate records, say when making maintenance payments, or upon selling to another party? Thus, this can eliminate the requirement for the industry at large to play forensic auditor?
In our experience, when patents are at issue in litigation or commercialization, sellers/buyers or plaintiffs/defendants are pretty clear on who owns what. At Techson, we see massive volumes of patents with well-established ownership chains with those owners earnestly seeking commercialization, or an ROI on their innovation, but infringement is the key issue at that stage, not ownership.
Our thesis is the IP industry needs much more support in creating a liquid and transparent patent commercialization marketplace vs. spending time and resources uncovering fringe-ownership on a small percentage of patents worldwide. Over the next several months Chris Mulkey and I will endeavor to uncover the facts/figures/value of Blockchain and the IP industry.
Is it hype or help?