A Critical Examination of the Application of Blockchain Technology to Intellectual Property Management



This chapter critically investigates the application of blockchain technology for intellectual property management. To date, there have been relatively few critical discussions of the feasibility of utilising blockchain technology for this purpose, although much has been written, in media and industry sources, about the potential. Our aim, by contrast, is to examine possible limitations—and, subsequently, to suggest tentative solutions to the limitations we identify. Specifically, this chapter aims to examine the use of blockchain technology for intellectual property management from two perspectives: operation and implementation. We conclude that, while commentators often focus on technical characteristics of blockchain technology itself, it is the incentive design—which was fundamental to the original Bitcoin proposal—that is also critical to truly decentralised, and disintermediated, intellectual property management.


Blockchain Intellectual property Digital rights management Copyright Incentive design Authenticity Critique Provenance Disintermediation Decentralisation DApps Distributed ledger technology Music industry Proof of existence 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK

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