Blockchain has the potential to be the brand new frontier of innovation and a disruptor of present applied sciences, and with this, has the potential for important patent litigation. The expertise now generally generally known as “blockchain” was described by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta, after which used to describe the framework for bitcoin by a writer using the pen name Satoshi Nakamoto. Probably the most talked-about use for blockchain has been for monetary devices, such because the aforementioned bitcoin in addition to Ethereum and scores of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Nonetheless, blockchain is being thought of for quite a few different areas, together with vitality buying and selling, provide chain administration, well being care, e-commerce and life sciences.
Blockchain has been the topic of quite a few patent functions over the previous decade. As of the time of this writing, at the least 5,745 issued patents particularly deal with blockchain. The variety of patents revealed and issued on the expertise has been growing:
The variety of patents associated to blockchain is important, however the variety of patents issued for a lot of different applied sciences dwarfs that quantity. The variety of issued blockchain patents is probably going due partially to the prolonged time lag between when an utility is filed and when a patent is issued (currently averaging 23.2 months). Extra patents are on their approach, and the quantity issued remains to be growing.
Blockchain has not been a big supply of patent litigation. Nonetheless, one case at the moment within the courts is Rady v. Boston Consulting Group, LLC. There, Rady developed a way for figuring out bodily gadgets, notably gems, by their distinctive properties utilizing 3D spatial mapping and spectral evaluation and recording the end result on a blockchain that acts to ensure the authenticity of the bodily merchandise. A defendant moved to dismiss by asserting the patent are usually not patentable subject material as a result of it covers an summary idea with none inventiveness. The present state of patentability regulation is a possible hurdle for blockchain litigation, and may the case proceed, it could present an early indication of how declare building and any validity challenges may play out for blockchain patents.
There may be cause to imagine extra patent litigation associated to blockchain is coming, however solely time will inform what number of extra instances are filed. As extra patents are issued, the possibilities that they’ll come into the fingers of a celebration prepared to say them improve as nicely. Moreover, as firms coping with this expertise mature, they’re making extra income. This income will appeal to these desirous to extract worth from their patents. That is definitely an space to keep watch over for all these concerned with patent litigation.