10.17.2017
By John D'Antona

Rush for Blockchain Patents Won’t Impede Innovation

The modern day equivalent of the California Gold Rush is taking place at the nation’s patent offices as people are rushing to get patents for blockchain technology.

Market consultancy Greenwich Associates reported that the rush to protect intellectual capital related to the blockchain does not signal the start of a potentially innovation-stifling patent war, but rather is a sign that the technology is moving into the corporate mainstream.

Richard Johnson, Greenwich Associates

In a new report, “Blockchain Patents Signify the Potential of the Technology,” the consultancy said that according to companies in the financial services and technology industry, a recent avalanche of blockchain-related patent applications reflects both the technology’s immense potential and the huge investments companies are making into blockchain innovation.

“More importantly, these moves show that the companies believe their research has led to unique breakthroughs and applications,” said Richard Johnson, Vice President of Market Structure and Technology at Greenwich Associates and author of the report.

To date, there have been over 800 patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to bitcoin, blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The new report also noted that while the goal of open-source is to allow for innovation in the software community and the trend to protect intellectual property may be in opposition, 59% of industry executives Greenwich Associates spoke to see no conflict.

“From the first release of the open-source bitcoin code, blockchain was based on a foundation of decentralization and open innovation,” Johnson added. “Despite the rush of patent applications, that spirit remains strong in the industry today, as developers focus on building solutions that can potentially transform financial services and beyond.”

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