20 April 2021

News

“If there’s a way to take the fun out of the craze in non-fungible tokens, IBM may have just found it: patents.

But that doesn’t mean news from the tech stalwart about using the blockchain to support NFTs for corporate patents isn’t an important development in the digitization of just about everything.

Intellectual property specialist IPwe, which has been working with IBM for years on a blockchain solution for the patent industry, announced on Tuesday that it will begin representing patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or digital assets, in a deal announced in conjunction with IBM.

“Intellectual property specialist IPwe, which has been working with IBM for years on a blockchain solution for the patent industry, announced on Tuesday that it will begin representing patents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or digital assets, in a deal announced in conjunction with IBM.”

IBM’s blockchain group already works with corporate clients on tech efforts like tracking food supply chains using the blockchain. Now, it will provide the infrastructure for representing valuable patents as NFTs, and storing the information on a blockchain network.

“The tokenization of intellectual property (IP) will help position patents to be more easily sold, traded, commercialized or otherwise monetized and bring new liquidity to this asset class for investors and innovators,” the companies said in a joint release.

The companies said the NFTs will be stored and shared on the IPwe Platform, hosted on IBM Cloud and powered by IBM Blockchain.

Taking enterprise IP to the blockchain

For IPwe, founded by Erich Spangenberg, who rose to prominence as a successful “patent troll” in the tech boom of previous decades, the NFT effort is just the latest move in its multi-year goal of taking the entire world of patents to the blockchain.

He has cited the fact that only 2% to 5% of intellectual property in the patent market is valued and there is likely a $1 trillion-plus opportunity if the patent market can find a better means of identifying, authenticating, and trading on the IP, even at the level of only 10% of the total market that exists.

“The lack of transparency is a huge problem, whether it is who owns or what is patent about, it is so complicated to transact in,” Spangenberg said.

IPwe already offers the Global Patent Marketplace, a patent ecosystem to engage and transact, buy, license, finance, sell, research and commercialize patents, which it developed with IBM, where it was accepted to an early incubator program for blockchain projects, though Spangenberg tells CNBC it has not yet taken off as much as he had hoped, though the NFT moment may be a turning point.”

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Mia Mixan
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