IBM is Working to Turn Patents Into NFTs With the Help of a “Patent Troll”

IBM does not want to give up when it comes to the application of Distributed Ledger Technologies for corporate purposes, and although its blockchain division did not live up to the expectations, this time, they are hoping to achieve success through the application of business use cases for NFTs.

According to a Press Release shared on April 20, IBM is teaming up with patent marketplace provider IPWe to tokenize patents in the form of NFTs and put them on a marketplace that facilitates their trading and transmission.

Patents Will Live on the Blockchain as NFTs

IBM’s vision is to achieve a means to enable fast and secure transfer of patent ownership without the need for the complex bureaucratic processes that currently exist.

All the steps that are required to get a patent. An NFT can simplify the process
Graphic representation of thebureocratic process for granting a patent. Image: Kolit Romano

In this way, frictions within this type of market are eliminated. However, there are many legal hurdles that IBM must overcome before this project can be deployed globally.

For Erich Spangenberg, IPwe CEO , the tokenization of the rights inherent to the ownership of a patent could lead to a revolution in the market, especially for small players:


“The use of NFTs to represent patents will help create completely new ways to interact with IP. This is expected to benefit not only large enterprises that have significant intellectual property, but it will bring new opportunities to small and medium enterprises and even individual IP owners.”

Spangenberg is no newcomer. The CEO of IPwe is known in the industry as a “patent troll,” i.e., a person who profits from making huge amounts of lawsuits and proceedings exploiting patent law. Similar to copyright trolls who take advantage of YouTube’s algorithms to demonetize the content of famous channels and take their profits after DMCA claims.

Innovate, No Matter What

So far no further details have been revealed about the bureaucratic workings behind IBM’s proposed NFTs. Still, it is known that the tokens will be stored and shared on the IPwe Platform -which will provide its market infrastructure as a way to trade these unique tokens-, hosted on IBM Cloud and powered by IBM Blockchain.

If successful, IBM would be paving the way for a new corporate application of blockchain technology. Currently, NFTs are used as representations of a specific asset, or even an asset in and of itself; however, the idea of tokenizing patents goes a bit further and is a significant challenge for the tech giant that recently closed its blockchain lab for failing to meet its ambitious goals.

During 2019 and 2020 IBM was quite active in the field of developing use cases for blockchain technology at the corporate level. Among the most noteworthy initiatives reported by Cryptopotato are, for example, the launch of the world’s first DLT-based platform for government savings bonds with the Central Bank of Thailand, and a partnership with KAYA&KATO to create a blockchain-based network to track sustainable clothing production.

At least there’s something to acknowledge here, and that is how persistent IBM is when it comes to innovating and trying new things.


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