The emergence of new legal tools mediating relationships in the transfer of intellectual property rights allows resolving issues of quick access to the international right holder market, expands opportunities for the international transfer of intellectual technologies, minimizes costs related to the remote location of contracting parties in different parts of the world. However, there are several new problems emerging due to the absence of legal regulation of legal relationships which arise from smart contracts, the controversy of the current international and national legal norms regulating the international trade of intellectual property items, as well as the tendency of the national law to establish limits and restrictions for the international trade of technologies; the impossibility to identify the entity entering into smart-contract-based legal relationships clearly and unambiguously, etc. Creating a cohesive and consistent legal regulatory system requires a scientific analysis for the purpose of creating a fundamental scientific basis for improvement of the current legislation. The methodology of a study is determined by its goals and objectives and is based on the dialytic method of cognition as an assembly of general and specific scientific methods. The paper presents a theoretical study of issues related to the application of smart contacts in the formation of legal relationships during the transfer of intellectual property rights in conducting foreign economic activities. A detailed analysis of the Russian and international law in force has been conducted. A justifiable conclusion has been made that it is necessary to abandon national regulation of relationships involving intellectual property rights and create international legal acts. The research of the issue of identification of entities entering into legal relationships via a smart contract has revealed that there is neither required legal regulation nor resolution of the problem in scientific literature. It has been concluded that it is necessary to reference identification not to the physical person but to the physical person’s account. Conceptual provisions have been substantiated for the introduction of the new concept of ‘digital person’. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020.