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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has filed an application for a patent covering a system for protecting intellectual property rights on the blockchain, in the latest move from a mainstream multinational to secure blockchain patents.

Filed in China with the State Intellectual Property Office, as disclosed earlier this week, the application covers a system for adding a verification layer to distributed content, in what the firm considers to be a first-case example of this technology in application.

The invention, designed to work within existing blockchain systems, will enable Huawei to secure digital asset rights on the blockchain, including business-critical intellectual property.

The Shenzhen-based manufacturing giant first filed the patent back in 2016 and it was made public for the first time this week. The system allows for digital consent, by storing verification information on the blockchain.

Triggered by download requests on the network, user private keys are matched against the stored verification information to determine permissions, according to the description of the patent. According to Huawei, this effectively allows for better control of property rights across peer-to-peer networks, with implications for peer-to-peer digital content sharing.

While the application at present remains pending, it marks the latest move from Huawei to embrace blockchain technology, and the potential for blockchain solutions throughout their business.

The company became a member of the collaborative Hyperledger consortium around the same time as filing this application, back in 2016. A group of well over 140 member companies, Hyperledger draws expertise from a range of industries to develop blockchain technologies.

Huawei was also recognized as among the earliest adopters of the Hyperledger Sawtooth framework, and the firm continues to work in partnership with other Hyperledger members in developing blockchain infrastructure.

Details of the latest patent will help shed some light on Huawei’s plans for blockchain technology, and for how the firm might use distributed networks across its services in future.

The patents follow on from a spate of similar applications in recent weeks, including from IBM, Bank of America, PayPal, Walmart and Lenovo, as firms increasingly look to securing protection for their blockchain projects.