Next stop … #SXSW for its first Blockchain Track & #BusinessontheBlock

IP, Brand and Blockchain: #BusinessontheBlock

Open blockchain protocols are generally based on open-source software, where intellectual property rights (patent, copyright, trademark) are generally not pursued. But when software developers build decentralized applications on top of open, distributed 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 will explore all of these essential topics.

Engage with us on Twitter via #BusinessontheBlock and @IPProfEvans @ShontaviaJEsq @KateBaucherel. We’ll be live streaming the presentation via Twitter.

March 14-16, 2019 | Interactive Track

For the first time ever, SXSW will include a specific blockchain track.

During Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Track sessions, hear from educators, technologists, investors, creators and industry leaders as they explore the ways in which blockchain technologies are being deployed and discover the power of digital currencies that are fueling the exponential rise of this technology across all industries.

See a complete list of all blockchain and cryptocurrency track sessions at SXSW 2019

Professor Evans presents @ Women in Blockchain & GA-Boston Event Tues 2/5

blockchain-image

The last decade has seen blockchain technology grow from an anarchic financial experiment to a global engine for organizational and societal change.

Join Women in Blockchain and General Assembly for a panel discussion on the history and future of blockchain.

We will chart the path from pre-Bitcoin computer science breakthroughs, to Bitcoin and the rise of alternative currencies, through Ethereum and the rise of smart contracts, arriving at the present day explosion of tokens, enterprise networks, and regulations governing blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Schedule:

  • 6:30 – 6:45 pm: Networking
  • 6:45 – 8:00 pm: Introductions and Panel Discussion
  • 8:00 – 8:30 pm: Q&A and Networking

Meet the Panelists:

  • Jagathi Gururajan, Technology Executive, High Growth Global Companies
  • Tonya M. Evans, Chair, IP & Technology Online Programs, University of New Hampshire
  • Lindsay Nuon, Founder, Women of Color in Blockchain

To secure your spot to this event, please register here: https://ga.co/womeninblockchain

*In Partnership with General Assembly*

General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, specializing in today’s most in-demand skills. The leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, we foster a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love. Learn more at https://ga.co.

Twitter: @GA_Boston / Instagram: @ga.boston

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Law: an online key to unlocking the future of business, tech & law

Credit: WIPO

When I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole of the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, I had no idea I’d turn into part-expert, part-evangelist. But here I am. And because you found your way to this post, here you are too! So we are in great company.

Blockchain Education @ UNH Law

After spending the better part of every waking hour fully immersed in the space by writing, speaking and crafting a curriculum and program, we are starting to enjoy the fruits of our labor here at UNH Law in launching a host of innovative course offerings in partnership with iLaw Ventures (a BARBRI company).

Education about blockchain, cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets, is essential. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, law students, lawyers and business professionals, as the blockchain community continues to develop the infrastructure of Web 3.0.

Honored to be a part of the #blockchainedu build

Coindesk published a substantive article, written by Leigh Cuen, to highlight exclusive details about the UNH Law online certificate program. Cuen’s article also explored the state and, more importantly the future, of blockchain education, in general. Program details are noted below. But here is an excerpt from the article:

It’s not a bear market for everyone.

“A crypto winter for the price is a crypto summer for attorneys,” said Jason Civalleri, adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire Law School. “As the price sinks, you have a lot of demand for legal services.”

That’s why UNH Law is rushing to offer a new certificate program in blockchain and cryptocurrency. As exclusively told to CoinDesk, over 100 students have expressed interest in the program, which will feature of slew of industry players as guest lecturers – including Hester Peirce of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ethereum Foundation researcher Vlad Zamfir and MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan.

Read the full article: Lawyers Rush In: New UNH Blockchain Program Nabs Big-Name Speakers

About the BC&L Certificate Program

Continue reading “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Law: an online key to unlocking the future of business, tech & law”

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.

[AGENDA][REGISTER][LIVESTREAM]

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]

This week’s CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 1 (3/31/18)

Is it just me, or does it feel like news about blockchain  and cryptocurrency seems to travel faster than the speed of light? It is a full-time job keeping up. Literally. So I’ve decided to post a weekly curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto.  Continue reading “This week’s CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 1 (3/31/18)”

Blockchain, Crypto & Smart Contracts: What they are & what they mean for IP

© 2018 Tonya M. Evans

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CC BY-ND

Recently, I delivered two presentations in Bangkok, Thailand about the intellectual property implications of blockchain technology. The first was an internal preso for the prominent Southeast Asian law firm of Tilleke & Gibbins, and the second was for the Licensing Executives Society-Thailand Conference.

In each preso, I engaged attendees (live and via video conference) in a macro-level exploration of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts to clarify what this relatively new disruptive, empowering ecosystem is, what it means for our collective future as attorneys, corporate leaders, startup founders and entrepreneurs, and its implications in intellectual property law.

Recently, Darts-IP.com published an article I wrote titled IP + Blockchain: A Primer based on some of the information I shared in Bangkok.

I could spend all day every day falling down the proverbial rabbit hole of information about blockchain. There is literally breaking blockchain and cryptocurrency news every minute, if Coindesk’s website and twitter feed are any indication. Each bit and byte of information leads to more information (and misinformation), FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), FOMO (fear of missing out), and speculation about all of the potential pitfalls and opportunities in this new technology frontier. So it’s difficult for most people to figure out where to begin. If this describes you, you’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place! Read on.

You probably have questions (or you wouldn’t be reading this post). Lots of them. The first may very well be where to begin to get a handle on the power and promise of blockchain. Everyone should have some baseline understanding. But lawyers, in particular, must achieve basic technological competence in this space to be well positioned to help clients solve problems. Given my background and expertise, I am particularly interested in the intellectual property issues triggered by blockchain’s rise in mainstream adoption as research & development use cases transition into full implementation and refinement.

In future posts, I will share trends and current events in the blockchain ecosystem that raise copyright, patent, and trademark issues. Follow me on Twitter @IPProfEvans for breaking IP-related blockchain and crypto news. Below are some blockchain basics that I cover more substantively in IP + Blockchain: A Primer and some additional resources about blockchain, crypto, and smart contracts.

So … what is Blockchain? [Updated excerpt from IP + Blockchain: A Primer Continue reading “Blockchain, Crypto & Smart Contracts: What they are & what they mean for IP”

VIDEO: 203 Copyright Transfer Terminations: All Hype or Finally Ripe?

On Thursday, March 23rd I presented a Lunch & Learn at the University of New Hampshire School of Law’s Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property.

I covered 203 copyright transfer termination rights mechanics, the post-2013 response of copyright creators and copyright-industries when the first termination “window” opened for post-1977 transfers, and stakeholder and commentator forecasts about whether the anticipated termination tidal wave of destruction is more academic than real.

Copyright transfer termination permits a copyright creator to reclaim control of his or her copyright several decades after transferring the right. This applies to all copyright transfers no matter what a contract may say about a perpetual transfer. Creators cannot waive this right. But they can forfeit it if they are not careful.

In fact, some creators have already forfeited their rights if they transferred copyright in 1978 and failed to serve notice of termination by 2016. 

I offered some preliminary conclusions on the future of copyright-dependent industries in light of the 203 termination right.

Watch, listen and learn!