Japan to initiate a government-led blockchain project

Japan starts to study a blockchain system for contents management. The government is aiming to support Japanese contents business (e.g. game, character) by providing a system which realizes smooth copyrights handling by using smart contract and other functions based on blockchain technology. The Japanese government is reportedly planning to proceed to the validation phase in 2019.

In addition to this government project, Sony seems considering using blockchain technology for Digital Rights Management (DRM). Reportedly, Sony has filed a patent application, which was published by USPTO on April 26 2018, for using blockchain technology to manage ownership of purchased games for PlayStation 4.

Blockchain technology-based IP platform is becoming hot. So far as I am aware,  the following news have been reported recently.

  • KODAK announced the launch of the KODAKOne image rights management platform, and KODAKCoin cryptocurrency on January 9 2018.
  • Microsoft and EY announced a blockchain solution for content rights and royalties management for media and entertainment industry on June 21 2018.
  • Chinese company CFun is developing a platform for managing transactions between customers and creators, especially Japanese manga artists, as a first step.

The above platforms are for contents management; i.e. for copyright work. Of course, there are platforms for patent rights management built by the following companies.

  • IPwe – The Global Patent Registry
  • OPEREM – The OPEREM Exchange Platform. OPEREM is featured by Jacob Schindler in IAM blog.
  • BPSA – IPNet

In my view, the platform for contents management is likely to become widely used relatively quickly. Digital contents such as photos are already traded actively at fixed price with routine procedure. That seems to be compatible with such a platform. On the other hand, for patents transactions, the platform may require a major change in the current practices. First of all, the platform provider may be required to provide obvious benefits of using their platform that appeal to patent licensing professionals.

Anyway, it’s quite exciting to see how the new technologies change IP services.