Cognate's Trademark Blog

The Case for Putting All Trademarks on Blockchain

Almost all goods and services sold in the $72.8 trillion dollar global economy are associated with a product name, company name, or logo. Often, the name is a trademark, which is any word, name, symbol or design, which serves to identify the source of goods and services sold in commerce as originating from a particular owner. (Under certain circumstances, trademarks may even be sounds, colors, or smells).

The principal function of a trademark is to distinguish goods and services from each other to prevent confusion amongst consumers in the marketplace. While legal technicalities sometimes exist which differentiate trademarks, trade names, business names and product names, they all serve the same purpose: to identify a product or service, or its source. With this in mind, Cognate refers to all such “business identifiers” as “Trademarks” (or “Marks”).

Fortune 100 companies and startups alike have names, logos, and slogans that they use to sell their products and services. Not only do most companies have Trademarks, but Trademarks are often a company’s most valuable asset; the size of a company’s Trademark portfolio has been found to be a more consistent indicator of innovation than patent count or R&D expenditure.1

Forbes estimates that Apple’s brand — alone — is worth $170 billion, Google’s brand worth $101 billion, and Coca-Cola more than $56 billion.2

In order to enforce and protect their valuable Trademark rights, companies must be able to prove when, where, and how their Trademarks are being used. Because of the time and expense associated with the traditional systems for Trademark protection, there are hundreds of millions of Trademarks in use around the world that are never registered and aren’t actively protected by Trademark owners. Government-sponsored Trademark registration systems were designed decades ago, and are insufficient to meet the needs of companies striving to compete in an increasingly digital and globalized economy.

Blockchain provides an extremely efficient way for companies to prove their trademark use, and subsequent rights, for every Trademark or product name they own. Cognate’s “ChainMark” protection system is a faster, more affordable, and more secure method of proving Trademark use than any other existing system.

1 Potepa, James and Welch, Kyle T., Innovation Worth Buying: The Fair-Value of Innovation Benchmarks and Proxies (June 21, 2017). Available at SSRN:


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