Tech giant IBM and global patent marketplace IPwe plan to turn patents into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Announcing the news on Tuesday, the two companies said NFTs would make patents more easily saleable, tradeable and monetizable, and bring liquidity to this asset class.
"Think of an NFT as a certificate of title," IPwe CEO Erich Spangenberg told The Block. "The people that interact with the NFT for a particular patent will be comfortable that it exists and who owns it."
If the owner wants to sell or fractionalize ownership of the NFT, they could do so, said Spangenberg.
NFTs will be stored on IPwe's platform, which is powered by IBM Blockchain.
IPwe will begin trials of their patent NFTs in Q2 of this year. The tests will focus on both large as well as small and medium enterprises, Spangenberg told The Block.
IBM intends to be a participant in the trials "alongside other large corporate patent holders," the company's general manager of global strategic partnership, Jason Kelley, told The Block.
"IPwe’s platform and NFTs are definitely of interest to IBM," said Kelley.
IBM and IPwe have worked together for the last three years. IPwe's offerings are powered by IBM's blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cloud technologies.