Comparative Guides

Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.

Our Comparative Guides provide an overview of some of the key points of law and practice and allow you to compare regulatory environments and laws across multiple jurisdictions.

Start by selecting your Topic of interest below. Then choose your Regions and finally refine the exact Subjects you are seeking clarity on to view detailed analysis provided by our carefully selected internationally recognised experts.

4. Results: Answers
Intellectual property
What specific challenges or concerns does blockchain present from an IP perspective?

Answer ... Though more of a general challenge, a significant amount of effort and resources must be invested in order to arrive at the advantages outlined in question 7.4, and thus the use of blockchain technology in this area is very costly. Further, at present, it is impossible to remove all barriers, as the IP legal framework is not evolving as fast as the technology. Hence, there is still a need for legal IP experts. It is also disputed whether blockchain technology itself may be patented.

For more information about this answer please contact: Thomas Nägele from NAGELE Attorneys at Law LLC
What type of IP protection can blockchain developers obtain?

Answer ... The Liechtenstein Copyright Act provides for a wide range of IP protection (copyright protection, trademark protection and patent protection). Liechtenstein law allows for the copyrighting of computer programs and code under certain circumstances, which could be of particular interest to developers of blockchain programs or smart contracts.

For more information about this answer please contact: Thomas Nägele from NAGELE Attorneys at Law LLC
What are the best open-source platforms that could be used to protect developers’ innovations?

Answer ... No answer submitted for this question.

For more information about this answer please contact: Thomas Nägele from NAGELE Attorneys at Law LLC
What potential advantages can blockchain offer in the IP context?

Answer ... Blockchain technology can offer various advantages in the IP context. The potential advantages have also been identified by the European Union and the World Trade Organization, and are currently being analysed.

There are different registries for patents, which can be both public (operated by governments) or private. As this concept fits with the decentralised nature of blockchain technology, a blockchain-based registry could be established. The transparency of the blockchain-based registry would ensure the necessary level of trust and would come with the advantage of reduced costs.

Blockchain technology can also be advantageous in relation to proof of ownership and existence. If a design or work is uploaded to a blockchain, a time-stamped record is created, which cannot be changed due to the immutable aspect of blockchain. This provides evidence of when this record was created and by whom, and cannot be disputed, thus supporting designers and creators. IP rights holders can also control whether their IP rights are being rightfully used.

In a supply chain, the use of blockchain technology in relation to IP rights can also be beneficial. By recording which individuals hold IP rights, persons across the entire supply chain can access necessary information such as the characteristics of the product, where it originated and who owns it. In this respect, blockchain technology could also assist in the fight against counterfeiting. Since the technology is transparent and immutable, the origin of a product can easily be identified.

Finally, IP agreements can be enforced and payments automated through the use of smart contracts. This scenario is envisioned, for example, in the music industry, where the payment of royalties could be automatically executed and licences could also be executed upon use of a work by digital rights management and collecting societies.

For more information about this answer please contact: Thomas Nägele from NAGELE Attorneys at Law LLC