EU Initiative Uses Blockchain And NFTs To Combat Intellectual Property Infringement

For the general public, blockchains and NFTs are often associated with volatile coins and expensive JPG files.

However, beyond the headlines, many projects in development are using this technology in innovative ways.

The European Union recognized this potential several years ago. In 2017, the European Commission began exploring options for using blockchain technology to combat online piracy and counterfeiting. Now, more than half a decade later, that vision is on the verge of becoming a reality.

In 2018, the European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) launched their first 48-hour “blockathon”, which aimed to develop concrete projects. With the help of talented developers, this resulted in a project that will help fight counterfeit products.

Fast forward four years and the EU’s blockchain-based anti-counterfeiting solution is about to see the light of day. In a recent update, EUIPO’s Claire Castel informed the World Intellectual Property Organization that a live version of the project should be up and running soon.

EU anti-counterfeiting NFT

Simply put, the anti-counterfeit blockchain allows manufacturers to create unique tokens for all of their products as proof of authenticity. This record is kept on the blockchain and can be transferred to others if the underlying product is sold.

These tokens are “non-fungible,” better known as NFTs, and can be kept in a regular blockchain wallet. The EU sees them as unique “digital twins” of a physical product which signifies proof of legitimacy and ownership.

“The blockchain record is a unique and immutable token. As the goods move from one party to another, the token is exchanged between digital wallets. The combination of a unique product identity and the continuous transfer of digital identity between wallets creates proof that the goods are genuine. »

“Throughout a product’s journey, customs and other law enforcement authorities can access information, such as authentic shipping records, that can support risk assessment,” adds Castle.

eu blockchain

The EU sees many benefits from a blockchain-based solution. Unique NFTs make product authentication easier for consumers and law enforcement agencies. However, NFTs will also help with product recalls and allow manufacturers to communicate directly with consumers via blockchain.

“Since the right holder defines the type of data included in the digital twin, this could also lead to a targeted loyalty program based on product specifications,” notes Castel.

Open and compatible

The EU initiative aims to be open and compatible with the wider NFT market. Brand owners can choose their own NFT platform, for example. However, the EU blockchain service infrastructureunder development, will play a central role.

“The solution will introduce a common language for track and trace providers, NFT platforms and logistics enterprise resource planning (ERP) to collect and share the appropriate data for anti-counterfeiting operations.

“The EUIPO will further create an Identity Management System, which will also serve as a knowledge repository system to store the identities of interested stakeholders and the location of products, thus positioning the EUIPO at the center of the ecosystem. ”

It may seem quite futuristic to some, but the project is already in its final stages. EUIPO is actively engaging with brand owners and will continue to test the system later this year. In addition, EU customs authorities, logistics operators and retailers are also involved.

Based on current planning, a live version of the EU’s blockchain anti-counterfeiting technology will go live by the end of 2023.

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The quotes above are taken from a document that EUIPO’s Claire Castel prepared for WIPO, which was shared with the Enforcement Advisory Committee last week.

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EU Initiative Uses Blockchain And NFTs To Combat Intellectual Property Infringement


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