Trademarks And The Global Growth of Blockchain

Nadaline Webster,

The use of business intelligence tools is on the rise as the challenges of doing business in the digital age grow exponentially. Undoubtedly, insights on fast moving trends, emerging and declining markets, innovations and your competitors response to them is valuable. The extent to which you can rely on gathered data and accessibility to such is variable that is, in many cases, difficult to quantify.

A study released this summer  by James Potepa and Kyle Welch at the George Washington University sought to find a measurement for innovation. Their findings included the conclusion that the trademark activity of a company correlated more strongly to the level of innovation than even patent applications or the budget granted to research and development departments. Trademark data can provide insights to power reliable business intelligence information and support decision making at a high level.

What then can we glean about the inexorable rise of the digital revolution and the coming innovation widely predicted to transform the way that we do business - Blockchain?

From a global perspective, any study will necessarily exclude China, very often a hub of trademark activity in new innovations. A ban on cryptocurrencies was announced in September 2017 and any companies operating in that space had until yesterday, 1st November to cease or move operations to another location. Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore have been cited as the most attractive new markets for those seeking a new home as opposed to closing their doors.

An examination of the trademark applications across a number of regions citing ‘blockchain’ in their goods and services descriptions, reveal some interesting trends. Most are filed across both Class 9 (typically software for blockchain technologies) and Class 42 (mainly for consultancy services around blockchain) although other classes also make an appearance.  

There are 580 applications in total. Of those, 538 consist of applications with a ‘live’ status and 42 already declared invalid. 457 of of those are still pending registration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States is leading the way in trademark applications related to blockchain innovations with 347 applications. A significant gap lies between the US and their closest neighbour with 53 trademark applications related to blockchain in Canada. Europe takes third place in blockchain innovations with 49 applications in the European Union Intellectual Property Office although of course, there are a number of applications featured in the national offices of Member States within the European Union also.

While America might be a forefront of the commercialisation of blockchain technologies, the rapid growth of this emerging technological innovation is undeniable and it is widely suggested that it will have implications far beyond mere financial transactions. For brand owners seeking to protect their trademarks, a fundamental shift may be a development that is coming sooner than we think. Marty Schwimmer from Leason Ellis provides unparalleled insights in a free webinar hosted by TrademarkNow’s Tiffany Valeriano. Don’t miss your opportunity to prepare to bring the protection of your brand up to speed!

Webinar What Brand Owners Need To Know About Blockchain