Blockchain gaming applications continue to follow a rising trend even during the toughest market conditions. Recently, on June 9th, 2022, SuperTeam raised $10M for building blockchain sports game, thereby providing further boost to the blockchain gaming sector. Blockchain innovations in the blockchain gaming sector add value to the blockchain business models for companies that file blockchain patents to create a strong blockchain patent portfolio. Essentially, patents covering blockchain gaming applications and blockchain technology include well drafted software patent claims.
Blockchain-based games are decentralized and rely on smart contracts to process all transactions. When you purchase in-game assets using a smart contract, they are transferred to your public address. Unlike traditional games, which are based on central servers and can’t be changed without the community’s consent, blockchain gaming allows players to retain ownership of their digital assets. Also, blockchain games allow players to store and transfer game assets without the need for central servers. Since these assets are fungible, this allows for a secondary market for the assets and encourages more players to buy them. Tokens are unique digital assets that are used to make the game possible.
In addition to the crucial points stated here relating to blockchain gaming, the future business models based on innovation may regularly need assistance for Blockchain Patent Searching. The results of a blockchain patent search report can assist in determining if Blockchain Patent Drafting is the next step for International Patent Filing along with USPTO Patent Filing. In case of blockchain based business models, utility token analysis along with Legal Opinion Letters may also be needed.
The blockchain application market has been growing immensely over the past few years. The developers in this market are creating monetary avenues by introducing various new facets of monetization models in their apps such as direct sales, freemium, subscriptions, In-app purchases out of which the latter two are mostly in trend. According to App Annie reports in 2019, users downloaded 200 billion apps and spent more than $120 Billion in app stores worldwide. The market is projected to grow significantly. With the latest trend of powerful processing smartphones, they have become gaming devices and due to which mobile games are accounting most of the revenue in the industry. In 2016 an app called Pokemon Go introduced “augmented reality” (AR). It is believed that technological advancement of mobile devices, virtual reality (VR) and AR is going to increase.
On the face of it, copyright does not seem to protect the technical and functional characters of a blockchain application. It is this peculiarity that makes a blockchain applications a protectable instrument. The Blockchaincopyright only protects the specific function of the Blockchain ideas. As various apps have different functional features which decide the scope of copyright protection. A copyright holder enjoys several exclusive rights. These rights are the right of reproduction (copying), the right of adaptation (the right to make derivative works), and the right of making available to the public (the right of distribution). A person is liable for copyright infringement if they directly or indirectly use these exclusive rights. Copyright’s term of protection is at least for the duration of life of the author plus 50 years.
As the patents earlier granted from product and process but in recent times protection through patent for blockchain application related inventions also available. The application for Blockchain patent registration may take up few years because they are contested at various stages, thus making the process costlier. Patents are territorial in nature and are only valid in jurisdiction in which they were granted. Patents provide exclusive rights to its owner for 20 years from the filing date. These rights allow who can use, make, and sell the protected invention. During this time period others can only learn from the invention and use this information to implement different solutions that do not infringe the patent. The novelty and inventive step both requires that there should be quantitative and qualitative difference from the prior art.
The inventor can also get protection of his invention from Blockchain Utility Model, such models offer protection for short time such as 7 to 10 years unlike 20 years for regular patent. These Utility Models can be beneficial to developers because the life of an app is short, and they can protect their idea with a Utility Model, which is less expensive to obtain than standard patents. The directions for Utility Model may vary from country to country.
Trade dress usually covers protection of a product’s appearance. An app’s graphical user interface (GUI) is the medium through which user’s interact with ease. It is generally one of the major factors that is considered by users. The ability to protect GUIs from cloning is key to a developer’s success in the marketplace. Blockchain Trademarks are signs associated to products or services that serve as indicators of origins. A trademark must not be descriptive and should possess a certain degree of distinctiveness. The duration of blockchain trademark protection is continual, subject to renewal. Under common law legal systems, it is essential to show that the contested sign is unique as well as acts as an indication of origin.
A blockchain product appearance may also be protected under an industrial design right. Intellectual property systems which preserve product designs are not uniform. For example, EU provides for a two-tier system of unregistered and registered deigns, both the United States and China have a design patent system where, the applicant must establish that the design has novelty and inventive step. In comparison, protection criteria for a registered community design (RCD) are novelty and individual character. The term of protection for registered designs or design patents varies from one jurisdiction to another, the present term for protection of design patents from the filing date is 15 years in the United States, 10 years in China may be valid for five years and can be renewed to a maximum of 25 years.
Blockchain Trade secrets preserve information which has commercial value and required steps are taken to keep them secret. Trade secrets are protected under national laws and do not require any formal registration. It is the primary form of protection in a product’s life cycle. Hence, the protection of trade secrets is not barred by time and may last if the subject matter of protection remains a secret. There is only one limitation to it, that realising a blockchain product which has trade secrets to the market makes it available for inspection by competitors with the trade secret being uncovered by reverse engineering, this can be mitigated by carefully drafted contracts.
There are a variety of models and approaches that can be used when developing blockchain application. In addition, tools have been developed that allow for fast mobile app development with minimal coding. The employment of these tools, however, may have an impact on the level of copyright protection for code and architecture. In the context of IP protection for a blockchain computer code, the attention should be made to both source code and object code. Both of these codes are susceptible to be copied wholly or in art, therefore IP rights may apply.
Our team of advanced patent attorneys assists clients with patent searches, drafting patent applications, and patent (intellectual property) agreements, including licensing and non-disclosure agreements.
Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.
Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).
Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.
Working closely with patent attorneys along with international law firms with significant experience with lawyers in Asia Pacific providing services to clients in US and Europe. Flagship services include international patent and trademark filings, patent services in India and global patent consulting services.
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Blockchain ecosystem in India is evolving at a rapid pace and a proactive legal approach is required by blockchain lawyers in India to understand the complex nature of applicable laws and regulations.