Cognate now uses blockchain technology to make a record of our users’ trademark rights.
What is Cognate? The Common Law Trademark (CM) Registry – a public, non-governmental registry and certification system that allows for fast, affordable recordal and monitoring of trademark rights, including unregistered (“common law”) trademarks, company names, product names, slogans, and domain names.
But you already knew that.
How does Cognate use the blockchain?
When users record their mark, class, date of first use, a specimen of use, etc. on Cognate, a “smart contract” is created containing this information, and logged in a blockchain. That means that once this time-stamped “contract” is created, it may never be altered or tampered with in any way.
What is “the blockchain”?
A “blockchain” is a decentralized digital ledger of transactions that combines powerful cryptography algorithms with a system of decentralized computing power. In other words, instead of having a single party keep a record of all of the transactions that happen within a given system, a blockchain shares the task of recording those transactions amongst the people making them, and the underlying technology verifies that all users are keeping matching records.
This makes a blockchain ledger, and all transactions recorded within it, public and immutable. A hacker would have to control more than half the network’s computing capacity to change any record in the block, growing exponentially as you go further back in the chain.
Most people have heard of the blockchain in the context of Bitcoin, but a blockchain has applications that extend far beyond “cryptocurrency,” and there are other blockchains besides the Bitcoin blockchain.
Cognate uses the Ethereum blockchain, which allows for the programming of “smart contracts.”
What is a “smart contract”?
A smart contract is a piece of computer code that can facilitate, verify, or enforce a contract, transaction or agreement.
How does this affect trademark protection?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was created before the digital era as a public, centralized repository and verification system for trademark claims. Cognate uses Ethereum smart contracts to accomplish the same task.
For each trademark registered on Cognate, a smart contract is generated containing the registrant’s relevant trademark information required to prove their use and ownership of the mark.
This creates an immutable, time-stamped record of the registrant’s rights. Cognate allows for recordal of both federally registered and unregistered (common law) trademarks, and is an extremely cost- efficient way to establish a timeline of use for, and claim rights in your trademarks.