A NEW ERA FOR ANTI-COUNTERFEIT
BLOCKCHAIN PLANS OF EU INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE
In the fight against counterfeiting, after EUIPO has launched the "Anti-Counterfeiting Blockathon Forum" in early 2021, now it intends to conduct a proof of concept at the end of this year and provide a live product by the end of 2023.
The Forum's mission is to create a shared blockchain platform where all stakeholders (manufacturers, consumers, carriers, etc.) can easily verify the authenticity of products and alert rights owners when infringing products are detected. In this way, any (tokenized) good's entire path can be fully traced with a higher level of legal certainty where customs and other enforcement authorities can access information, such as authentic shipping records, which can support risk assessment.
It seeks to establish a universal language that permits interoperability, although it didn't refer to this language as a standard. Along with a repository of authenticated brand signatures, it also plans to create an identity registration for brand owners who can sign the digital twins.
The EUIPO has applied a strategy usually observed in the private sector by attracting technical expertise through respective coding competitions ("Hackathon") in the Anti-Counterfeiting Blockathon Forum. If this project implemented correctly, such concept is an innovative way to discover and eventually implement feasible, industry-standard solutions.
In any case, this Project appears to be in line with the EU Commission’s goals set in the EU Action Plan IP as it seems to increase the efficiency of the EU IP system and promote opportunities for rights holders through the use of blockchain technology.
While the establishing clear ownership rights in blockchain systems is widely discussed, the fact that blockchain can be used in this way to combat counterfeiting shows us the flip side of the coin. We believe that the Blockchain has the potential to streamline future intellectual property transactions in copyright, trademark, patent, and combatting with anti-counterfeit.
Authors: Okan Çan, Alara Biber