Automated Licensing Payment Systems (ALPS) project: Expert workshop explores new Bill-of-IP (BoIP) concept
On 21 September, the IfM-led project group Automated Licensing Payment Systems hosted a workshop with leading intellectual property (IP) experts and scholars to discuss use cases and challenges of the Bill-of-IP (BoIP) – a new concept for digital IP management.
The BoIP is a digital repository that organises and links data from product components, IP assets and IP licensing agreements. Linking these components enables a wide range of use cases for integrated IP management, such as solving challenges inherent in IP licensing payment processes and synchronising information flow across departments. The BoIP is inspired by traditional concepts from operations and IP management (such as Bill of Materials and Patent-to-Product maps) and extends them to take IP management into the digital era.
The BoIP is being designed and built as part of the Research England funded Pitch-In project Automated Licensing Payment Systems (ALPS). ALPS is a blockchain-based platform technology that leverages smart contracts to re-establish trust and reduce existing challenges in IP licensing management by automating IP licensing payment processes. Within ALPS, the BoIP acts as a trusted intermediary to store and verify licensing agreements before being deployed as self-executing smart licenses.
The workshop served to identify key challenges that the BoIP concept might face in practice and explored potential use cases beyond ALPS. The event was chaired by Frank Tietze. Frank was joined by Julius Theye (visiting graduate student from TU Munich), Damiano di Francesco Maesa (postdoctoral research associate developing the ALPS technology) and Nicola Thorn (CEO of AND Technology Research, ALPS use case partner) who provided input on the Bill-of-IP, the ALPS system and the use case of AND’s IoT development platform.
Discussions proved lively and constructive, revolving mainly around the difficulty of correctly and comprehensively mapping the BoIP’s components to each other. Multiple participants highlighted the ambiguities and the complexity inherent in licensing agreements, such as containing both product and method claims. It was also noted that one participant had worked at a company whose ERP system had been customised to enable the functionality that the BoIP provides.
24 September 2020