' Philip Brown | MTTLR

Can Blockchain Technology Change How IP Rights are Granted and Sold?

When the term blockchain is thrown around, most people think about Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies that often populate headlines. While blockchain technology gained popularity and recognition in the area of cryptocurrencies and financial transactions, at its core, the technology has applications far beyond this narrow subset.   What is Blockchain Technology? Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is spread across a peer-to-peer network and relies on consensus of the ledger (list of transactions) among each computer on the network or node. Essentially, it is a large public data base that confirms individual transactions by seeking approval by all the members of the network rather than a central authority. Blockchain is simply the most common implementation of this decentralized ledger technology. In blockchain, each block in the chain or ledger contains specific transactions that are implemented into the chain. Each block contains a cryptographic key that serves as an ID and also links to the block before it, thereby creating the chain. This chain effect creates the security because in order to change one block, all blocks after it must be changed, requiring a massive computing effort that grows the farther down the chain a block is.   One particular field where blockchain technology could potentially lead to changes is the field of intellectual property. Intellectual property includes patents, trademarks, and copyrights which all use a central registration system that relies heavily on dates of registration and application. In this way, it is very similar to the electronic payment system that led to the development of cryptocurrencies. Due to this similarity, there is speculation that incorporating blockchain in intellectual...

My Car Broke the Law

As automated vehicles start to appear on the streets—and more right around the corner—what happens if and when these vehicles break the law? Are there situations where they should be allowed to break the law? Most people envision that they will be able to get in a car, enter their destination, and take a nap. No driving. No driver. No worries. While automation in transportation is approaching this point—first with automated safety features and advanced driver-assistance systems, and now the deployment of some level of automated vehicles on the market—many hard questions still remain. One of these questions is if automated vehicles should follow every traffic regulation at all times. Although it seems like common sense that traffic regulations are created to protect drivers, and that automated vehicles should follow these rules, social norms dictate that driving today is not as simple as blindly following laws. Deviations from the traffic laws occur in many common situations. Common scenarios like speeding to merge into a narrow space on the highway or crossing a solid lane marker to avoid a collision occur when people habitually break the law without fear of enforcement. These are simply implicit common-sense behaviors that have become norms in the world of driving. Early testing of automated vehicles shows that not abiding by these norms can actually cause more accidents because other drivers do not expect certain strict adherence from vehicles on the road. Car crashes caused almost 40,000 deaths in 2016, and human error caused a huge percentage of these accidents. Automated vehicles could potentially cut these deaths significantly, and early data shows that these vehicles...