Blockchain is a transformative technology that already is altering the way business is done across many industries. The name “blockchain” refers to digital, decentralized and distributed ledger technology that provides a means to immutably record information (i.e., a “block”) and share and maintain the records of that information (i.e., a “chain”) within a public or private community.

The underlying digital ledger technology relies on cryptographic principles and acts as a secure repository for the information being recorded and shared. For a simple example (and real-world application), consider the deed to a parcel of land.

Under the traditional method of recording ownership, a centrally maintained, manual ledger of entries and volumes of related documents reflect the history of the property as it was owned and transferred over time. Using blockchain technology, a decentralized, digital ledger permanently records all such transactions, building upon the prior transactions, and remains accessible to anyone with the cryptographic “key.”

As companies refine this technology and its applications, U.S. intellectual property (“IP”) law, among others, must be considered. This article, Part 1 of a two-part series, will address some of the IP law considerations, namely, patents, trade secrets and trademarks.

Part 2 will address U.S. securities law considerations of so-called cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, which utilize blockchain. The Intersection of U.S. IP Laws and Blockchain U.S. patent laws protect inventions that are novel, useful and not obvious, and meet certain other eligibility requirements. Read more from…

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