Our global blockchain team has published a global legal and regulatory guide titled ‘Unlocking the blockchain’.


Interest in blockchain technologies has grown dramatically over the last twelve months.

This has triggered growth in investment in businesses operating in this area and marked engagement from all industry sectors (and financial institutions in particular) in blockchain technologies and their disruptive potential. Such engagement has led to the development of increasingly sophisticated proof-of-concept use cases and notable live deployments.

In view of these developments, we have produced a new global legal and regulatory guide to blockchain technologies in which we explore the regulatory considerations and a range of other legal issues that should be taken into account with any proposed deployment. The guide will be published in a series of chapters, with the first one covering ‘an introduction to blockchain technologies’ that we invite you to read.

Chapter 3: Using intellectual property rights to protect distributed ledger technology

A significant amount of attention is being paid to the disruptive potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and many businesses are making huge investments in DLT-enabled products and/or services.

Whilst a significant amount of time is now being spent by businesses on analyzing the various legal and regulatory issues impacting upon the DLT space, many businesses have not yet considered strategies as to whether to (and how to):

  • Protect their investment in the technology by creating enforceable intellectual property rights in respect of it.
  • Put themselves in the best possible position to defend themselves from infringement claims in relation to the use of DLT technology by competitors and so-called “patent trolls” (known as non-practicing entities).

In this chapter we consider some intellectual property rights-related use cases for DLT, before looking at whether, and to what extent, intellectual property rights can subsist in the technology and can be used to protect and enforce proprietary rights in it. We also explore some of the key issues for businesses looking to implement an intellectual property rights management strategy in relation to the technology. 

Read the chapter on the FinTech hub hosted by the NRF Institute.

After registering, the FinTech hub can be found in the ‘Knowledge hubs’ dropdown menu.

Read the full white paper on our FinTech hub where you can access all our FinTech-related white papers, briefings, blog posts and events news from around the globe.  The hub is hosted by the 'NRF Institute' – our client knowledge portal. By registering for our ‘NRF Institute’, you will also have access to our cross-border guides and other premium content. The FinTech hub can be found under the Knowledge hubs dropdown menu.  

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this topic further, please get in touch.


Global head of FinTech
Senior Counsel
Global Co-leader, Digital Transformation Practice

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