Media Alert: Evans on “After the Blockchain Bubble” Wharton Biz Radio, SiriusXM 132 (12/17 @ Noon-2P)

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Today, Monday, December 17, 2018, Professor Tonya M. Evans will join Wharton Business Radio host, professor and author, Kevin Warbach, for the “After the Blockchain Bubble” episode to discuss the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Professor Evans will discuss her quest to educate educators about blockchain and the exciting future of blockchain in education, including her January launch of the University of New Hampshire School of Law’s online certificate program: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Law.

UNH Law has been a Top-10 ranked intellectual property (IP) program ever since U.S. News & World Report began ranking IP programs 27 years ago. Now, UNH Law is proud to pioneer the study of the next frontier of IP innovation: blockchain.

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The full power-packed slate of guests includes (in order of appearance): Michael Casey, Jalak Jobanputra, Amber Baldet, Tim Swanson, Caitlin Long, and Marco Santori.

SHOW DESCRIPTION: Cryptocurrency prices have crashed and blockchain applications have not gained traction. What comes next? Will we look back on this time as the end of an overhyped fad, or a speed bump in the development of a major technological revolution? Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach talks with seven experts in a variety of fields all relating to different aspects of blockchain. Together we’ll discuss the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Kevin Werbach is the author of “The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust” and a Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School.

Tune in. Call in 844-WHARTON.

Air Date: Monday, December 17, 2018 on SiriusXM 132

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The theme of 2018? On a mission, on a roll, on a plane!

On a mission, on a roll, on a plane!

[Credit: Franklin Pierce IP News, Nov 2018]

I know it’s not over yet, but 2018 has already been one filled with amazing opportunities, experiences and accomplishments for me. I joined the phenomenal faculty at the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center) in the fall of 2017. Since that time it has been planes, trains, and automobiles.

It feels like I created my own “Where in the world is Professor Evans” game as I traveled the world to share my experiences and expertise about the intersections of intellectual property and technology, with a decided focus on blockchain and IP. Reminds me a lot of my life before law school when I traveled the world as a professional tennis player. So I guess all of my experiences have prepared me for this moment in time.

IP Advisory

I was thrilled to be one of the faculty members featured in this month’s Franklin Pierce IP News,  which highlights some of the impressive accomplishments of UNH Law faculty. My highlight focused on a recent nomination by Judge Patricia Elaine Campbell-Smith, and appointment by Chief Judge Margaret M. Sweeney, to the IP Committee of the Advisory Council to the US Court of Federal Claims.

Blockchain Worldwide

Continue reading “The theme of 2018? On a mission, on a roll, on a plane!”

IP + Blockchain = Geneva!

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Credit: WIPO

|Learn more about the UNH Law Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Law Online Certificate|

My trip to Geneva has been marvelous. What a beautiful city with wonderful people here in the epicenter of global initiatives for diplomacy and business. I am fortunate to have visited here during the General Assemblies because there is so much going and so many thought-leaders from around the world in the city currently. Makes for rich opportunities to connect.

Yesterday, I participated in an invitation-only. roundtable discussion, hosted by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), on the issue of disruptive technologies and trade for sustainable development. I shared remarks about the impact of blockchain technology on IP and international trade. This was a wonderful next step after my remarks about international dispute resolution at the Blockchain Central conference held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

Today, I present at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Lunchtime Learning for over 150 WIPO lawyers and staff. I will give an overview of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. And then take a closer look at some of the copyright, patent and trademark issues and implications of blockchain.

Not many lawyers are actively practicing in this space, although the numbers are growing. It is still very early, even though the Bitcoin blockchain was first released in 2009. But there is a lot of new technology and use cases of interest to clients, organizations and policymakers. So lawyers need to be out ahead of these innovations and in a position to advise clients about how their businesses are going to be impacted. And how their businesses or governments might leverage the technology, if appropriate.

Lawyers do not necessarily need a technological background to have a robust practice in this space or achieve a depth of knowledge. I do not have a technological background, I’m just a (very cool and creative) nerd and life-long learner with a father who’s a doctor and a mother who’s a patent attorney. But for lawyers having some computer science or STEM background, or who commit to unpacking and truly understanding this technology, those lawyers will surely enrich their area of subject matter expertise and increase the value-add to servicing clients and, perhaps, using this technology to solve the world’s biggest problems.

Clients are either in an industry that will be disrupted or want to invest in those technologies or have to deal with their own customers’ questions about Blockchain, cryptocurrency, smart contracts. There is a hunger for information in order to, among other things, honor the 2030 SDG 9 regarding innovation and to figure out what this means for intellectual property now and in the future. And that’s where we as lawyers supply added value. That’s where we problem solve and, if we’re successful, where play a vital role in transforming the world.

 

Business, education & ideation: my #SxSW2019 Panel Proposals: VOTE them UP!

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About PanelPicker Process:

The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.) for SXSW and SXSW EDU

IP Brand & Blockchain: Business on the Blockhttps://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/85267

Open blockchain protocols are generally based on open-source software, where intellectual property rights (patent, copyright, trademark) are generally not pursued. But when devs build dApps on top of open platforms, questions of IP ownership soon follow. Additionally, building a product or service “on the block” requires savvy entrepreneurs and owners to manage and leverage trademark and trade secret rights and protections. Our panel experts will explore all of these essential topics.

[VOTE UP!]


Educating Educators about Blockchainhttps://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/83656

This SxSW EDU panel session will introduce educators to blockchain technology (what it is, its primary and myriad proposed use cases, and its impact on education and students). This panel will help demystify the topic and give examples of how to incorporate the blockchain and cryptocurrency into various subjects and courses, both in the traditional and online classroom.

[VOTE UP!]


Inspiration to ICO: Hatching Your Blockchain Ideahttps://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/83276

Getting beyond the blockchain buzz. Interested in launching a business using distributed ledger technologies or the blockchain? Join digital entrepreneurs and founders from TrustaBit, PayUp, as well as a blockchain attorney as they spill the beans on the good, bad and ugly experiences of launching their businesses. How’d they build a team, solicit funds (tokens or traditional financing) and navigate the space? All will be revealed. And then some.

[VOTE UP!]


Blockchain: From Imagination to Realizationhttps://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/82793

How far can your imagination take you? Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology opens the way for trustless, scalable systems that can change the world. We have all seen ICOs launched without a real problem to solve, or even a workable business model. Success comes when decision makers dare to dream beyond a pain point that has blocked their way, and developers realize the vision. This panel combines working case studies, software engineering experience, strategic innovation, and a sci-fi writer’s imagination. It aims to demonstrate how this emerging technology can turn fiction to fact and dreams to reality. It explores the balance between cutting edge blockchain and tried and tested software, and reflects on how the rush for magic internet money colors business decision making.

[VOTE UP!]

[About South by Southwest]

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#CryptoSmartEsq News, carefully curated #blockchainlaw content-Issue 9 (7/31/2018)

By Professor Tonya M. Evans

Welcome to this week’s CryptoSmartEsq News, my carefully curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto. 

If you’re new to this exciting, fast-developing space, check out the introductory video in the first CryptoSmartEsq news post. Follow me on Twitter at @CryptoSmartEsq (my blockchain and crypto-focused feed) and @IPProfEvans (my intellectual property-focused feed) and #EvansontheBlock for daily legal bits & bytes. Affiliate links noted with $.

I took a month-long hiatus from CryptoSmartEsq™ News for personal and professional travel and commitments. And boy has a LOT happened in this time. I am reminded what actual breaking news is … it happens every few minutes or so, it seems, in the blockchain ecosystem.

In fact, I’ve changed my Top Story three times in as many days. I won’t attempt to capture every bit of law-related news that happened since the last issue. But I will hit the high notes so dive in to this week’s #CryptoSmartEsq news.

~ Tonya Evans @IPProfEvans & @CryptoSmartEsq


This week’s #CryptoSmartEsq News includes:

  • SEC’s comments on crypto ETFs
  • MasterCard wins patent
  • Thailand tests digital fiat
  • CFA exam to include cryptocurrency questions
  • Prof. Evans has 8 blockchain events now through the end of October

Leave a comment and tweet me your news items.


Conference Discount Alert!

VoB Tickets and Info


Top Story

SEC Delays Decision on Asset Manager’s Bitcoin ETFs Until September

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed making a decision on whether to approve five bitcoin-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) until September, public documents reveal on Tuesday.

In the latest edition of the Federal Register, the SEC explains that it is postponing any decision over the possible approval of ETF proposals filed by Direxion Investments in January – one of which will match bitcoin’s price and four of which are based on the cryptocurrency’s price movements.

Intellectual Property

Mastercard won a U.S. patent on Tuesday for a method of speeding up cryptocurrency payments.

The document, published July 17 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), explains that though cryptocurrencies have “seen increased usage over traditional fiat currencies by consumers who value anonymity and security,” the wide disparity in payment processing times between the two classes of assets puts cryptocurrencies at a “disadvantage.” [Read more …]

Law Practice

The cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry is already crowded with firms eager to nab high-tech startups as clients or help legacy clients navigate a brave new world. But some BigLaw firms have gone further. [Read more …]

Law & Government

Crypto entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has argued on Twitter yesterday that the SEC’s second rejection of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF it is in some sense “old news.” He stated that a pending decision over the Bitcoin ETF that has recently been filed by VanEck & SolidX for trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will be more pivotal for the industry — and would likely generate more price-impactful “ETF excitement.”

Emerging financial technologies are taking us into a new chapter of economic history,” Giancarlo told the House Agriculture Committee. At the same time, he said investors should beware of cryptocurrency coins or tokens sold with the claim that they can buy goods, services, or platform access in the future. [Read more …]

In a speech made at an event in Singapore on Wednesday, central bank governor Veerathai Santiprabhob indicated that developing a wholesale central bank digital currency is currently in the pipeline as part of the country’s wider efforts in trialing blockchain technology in various sectors. [Read more …]

Cases and Enforcement Actions

… the rise in class action lawsuits around ICOs coincides with a larger, “historic” incidence of class action securities lawsuits since 2016, with more than 750 federal securities class actions having been filed since halfway through that year. That’s the most prolific 24-month period since the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 was enacted, according the the report. [Read more …]

Education

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are making serious headway in the financial industry, the most recent sign being the decision by the CFA Institute, which offers the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a three-level program, to include cryptocurrencies and blockchain to its Level I and II curriculums next year, according to Bloomberg. The material for the 2019 exams will be available in August.

The topics are part of a new section called Fintech in Investment Management. The CFA, based in Charlottesville, Va., added these topics in response to rising interest based on focus groups and surveys. [Read more …]

Events

Professor Evans to speak at the following events:

August 9, 2018

August 10, 2018

August 24, 2018

September 21, 2018

  • Panelist, SMU Dedman School of Law Intellectual Property Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium is Disruptive Ideas and Emerging Technology. Keynote speakers include Karyn Temple, Acting Register of Copyrights, and James Smith, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Ecolab (Dallas, TX)

September 25-26, 2018

October 4, 2018

  • Presenter, World Intellectual Property Organization Lunchtime Learning (Geneva, CH) (internal presentation re: IP & Blockchain)

October 18, 2018

  • Presenter, BYU Copyright and Trademark SymposiumCryptokitties, Cryptography & Copyright (Provo, UT). The paper will be published in the BYU Copyright and Trademark Symposium Issue of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal.

October 26-27, 2018

Need a speaker for your event?

[Contact me]


Signup for Coinbase to receive $10 in $BTC after you buy or sell $100 worth of $BTC

[previous issue of CryptoSmartEsq News]

On the road again … next stop, Lutie Lytle Workshop & Writing Retreat @ Dedman SMU Law

I’m honored to return to the annual Lutie Lytle Black Women Faculty Workshop & Writing Retreat, held this year at the SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX). Lytle was the first African-American female law professor in the U.S.

I am participating in two exciting panels:

  • Developing Your Brand and a “Side Hustle”
  • Blockchain Technology: Smart Contracts, Wallets, Mining and Cryptocurrencies

I will also do an incubator presentation of my latest WIP, Cryptokitties, Cryptography & Copyright. This paper will be published in the BYU Copyright and Trademark Symposium Issue of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal and also presented more formally at:

[Full Presentation Schedule | About Professor Evans]

Evans explores IP rules & regs in cryptocurrency + blockchain law at Yahoo Finance Summit [livestream]

IP + BLOCKCHAIN @ #YahooAMS

Today Professor Evans explores the role of intellectual property (IP) in the blockchain space, given the reality that the value of IP is generally derived from exclusive, proprietary rights. However, so much of the blockchain ecosystem’s infrastructure is open-source (and necessarily so) due to the need for, and benefits of, collaboration and interoperability. In fact, some fantastic projects, like Linux’s HyperLedger Project, were initiated to promote and support an open-source environment to spur blockchain innovation.

Contrary to the open-source community norms, some decentralized app (dApp) developers building on top of blockchains like Ethereum via “smart contract” code (think, “if, then” self-executing agreement) and infrastructure projects like those created by the Ripple and Mobius teams may, instead, seek a completely or at least substantially proprietary advantage by securing, for example, patent protection.

But is robust IP protection contrary to the originalist principles of the O.B. “original blockchain”, aka the Bitcoin Blockchain? Do strong IP protections, which may increase the overall value of a company’s worth, slow down or speed up innovation in an industry that moves at a meteoric pace? Do innovative steps outpace the US examination and registration processes for copyright (3 to 11 months),  trademark (6 months to one year or longer), and patent (1 to 3 years)?

The bottom line is that navigating OSS licenses is challenging and, of course, implicates important legal and economic issues, especially related to patent (inventions) and copyright (creativity) because software is protectable by both IP regimes.

One industry response to ownership and bad actor regulation for patents (which could also be applied to copyright) is the work of the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Blockchain Intellectual Property Council. IPWatchdog.com explains:

Aside from establishing a repository of blockchain-specific patent information, BIPC will be exploring various IP protection models that have worked in other sectors, such as: Non-aggression agreements – where industry players agree not to assert patents against each other; developing patent pools – where cross-licensing options are available to all pool participants; reducing inventory – where groups form (like the LOT Network) and the members agree not to sell patents without first granting a license to all group members.

Trademark registration is also an important tool to distinguish brand identity and raise consumer awareness. A trademark’s value can increase over time as the business reputation increases. Issues of consumer confusion, however, can cause harm. The Bitcoin (BTC) vs. Bitcoin Cash (BTH) confusion has left many an unwary person confused about the source of crypto. The consequences of transferring BTC to a BTH wallet means that Bitcoin is forever lost. So trademarks play a key role in avoiding consumer confusion, the primary test of trademark infringement. But with no central person or entity asserting ownership rights in this decentralized ecosystem, who is positioned to protect consumers?

Further, several crypto news outlets reported recently that a UK-based company registered BITCOIN as a trademark (for clothing, alcoholic & nonalcoholic drinks) & began issuing cease and desist letter to people like an Etsy store owner selling Bitcoin t-shirts. I covered this topic in a Twitter thread. If you’re wondering if this is illegal, the short answer is no. But that doesn’t mean industry leaders haven’t attempted to discourage this practice.

The BTC Foundation provided an important statement about the propriety of registering BITCOIN as a stand-alone trademark and provided stats as of January 2015 on the number registered marks around the world. For those, it is too late to oppose. It seems the US Patent & Trademark Office, however, is requiring registrants to disclaim the use of “BITCOIN” separately from, say, a mark like MILLY BITCOIN.

As you can see there are a lot of really important and interesting IP issues to consider with blockchain technology. Let’s talk about it.

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About #YahooAMS

Yahoo Finance presents All Markets Summit: Crypto — the latest in our series of All Markets Summit events produced by Yahoo Finance. This all-day livestream event will take place on June 14, 2018 in San Francisco at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. Yahoo AMS: Crypto examines the global investment appetite for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and endeavors to answer some of the biggest questions surrounding these assets.

  • Should individual investors have crypto in their portfolio?
  • Is it a legitimate investment?
  • Will regulators impose stricter federal oversight?

This is Yahoo Finance’s second live cryptocurrency summit this year. Yahoo AMS: Crypto brings together influential entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, policy makers, and legal experts. Limited live studio audience seating available.

Yahoo AMS is presented in conjunction with CoinDesk.

[AGENDA][REGISTER][LIVESTREAM]