Patent recognition for cryptocurrency companies is a developing trend, much like the constant evolutions of cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and all the various technological structures that seek to support and improve them. Today, there are thousands of cryptocurrency-related patents already in existence and in the making. The importance of careful structure and development has become more relevant than ever to innovators seeking to successfully lay claim to a patent.
There is high competition in this industry and that has led to a lot of new applications for this technology. However, when developing a cryptocurrency patent, it’s critical to understand not only current and future trends in the patent filing but to also understand the environment and strategies needed to successfully obtain a patent.
Highest Cryptocurrency Patent-producing Nations
The significance of securing a cryptocurrency patent hasn’t slipped the global focus. Among the top three cryptocurrency patents, China has ranked the highest in the past couple of years, securing about 55% of the cryptocurrency patent landscape worldwide. Second is the United States with about 22% of the patents, followed by Australia in third place at about 3% of the patents.
Which Companies Has the Highest Number of Cryptocurrency Patents?
Whether they plan on implementing the technologies they patent or not, there are some definite leaders in securing cryptocurrency technology patents in the corporate world. While e-commerce sites would be less than surprising, some unexpected leaders in these patents are actually more traditional or centralized financial institutions.
The massive Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba leads the list. Alibaba comes in first with approximately 90 of these cryptocurrency and blockchain related patents, followed very closely by IBM, that has claimed 89 of these patents. Mastercard is the third largest producer of blockchain technology patents with 80 filed thus far. Fourth and fifth place belong to Bank of America and the People’s Bank of China, with 53 and 44 cryptocurrency patents, respectively.
Main Trends from Recent Patent Filings
So with all this influx of blockchain technology patents, there are a lot of different directions innovators can go in to secure their patent. Naturally, like any other technology wave, there are specific trends that appear. Within recent patent filings these are the main trends:
Financial and technology-based companies have been in the blockchain patent wagon since the uptake of cryptocurrencies, and their enthusiasm and rigor in filing these patents has continued to grow.
The growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency isn’t at all limited to the FinTech industry. More and more non-tech based organizations have decided to file these types of patents.
Even companies in more traditional industries such as research and insurance are developing patents to explore technology that could improve their business transactions.
That said, we’re still seeing a huge increase in cryptocurrency related patent filings overall, and that includes traditional companies as well as cryptocurrency companies. Some patents are filed to keep control of the intellectual property without any intent to apply the technology the business; this prevents other companies from using the intellectual property.
Most industries seem to be taking note and finding ways to get their piece of the pie. This could be due to wanting to defend their own traditional business models from migrating in a direction they consider undesirable.
Types of Patents
These patents are categorized as either cryptocurrency patents or blockchain patents. In the past couple of years, blockchain patents have risen about 300% while cryptocurrency patents have risen about 16%.
That isn’t to say that companies are no longer interested in cryptocurrency technology patents, or their range of use cases. So far, blockchain patents are being used to lay the groundwork for potential future cryptocurrency and technological processes.
That may change, but right now the focus is mostly on how blockchain technologies can be applied to improve current business practices and lay the groundwork for what these innovators hope to achieve with even more progress in crypto technology.
Blockchain Patent Strategies to Know
It’s not far fetched to imagine the heavy criticism that can come when people talk about technology that goes outside of our physical grasp, like software and algorithms.
A lot of that criticism comes from a misunderstanding of the blockchain patent process, and what actually defines ‘intellectual property.’ An invention doesn’t have to be physical or have current applications to be considered a valid contender for patent approval.
So what does an invention or innovation need in order to be eligible for a patent?
First, it has to be new or original. That means you can’t, for example, patent the idea of a ‘smart TV.’ However, you could patent an internal process, software, or equipment component that increases efficiency, performance, connection, etc, as long as it is unique to anything used before.
So, the patent must be for an original innovation, and it must be non-obvious. That means laws of nature, abstract ideas, natural phenomena, and anything similar cannot be patented.
In short: your innovation needs to either make something that has been done before better, more efficient, or it needs to be an entirely new.
When you’re working on filing your crypto or blockchain patent, you also need to know about some important classifications and categories within the patent process. First, there are patents that cover either the functionality of innovation or the superficial design elements. The superficial design patents are considered ‘design patents’ and they are common in user interfaces, icons, and the like.
Patents that cover the functionality and processes of innovation are considered to be ‘utility patents.’ Basically, these patents are concerned with the use, or utility, of the technology such as innovations that support the processes needed, create new processes, or create new or uniquely improved technology and functions.
Because patents can cover not only technology but the applications, it’s important for businesses and inventors to look at the big picture of the technology they want to seek a patent for.
Applications of technology can be a bit harder to nail down than core technologies. That’s mostly because it already begins as a more abstract, less tangible idea. For example, applications could include data and account management, escrow services, or even contract facilitation.
Core technologies seem to be easier to identify and define because they’re more linked with what we think of as either ‘concrete’ objects or they’re technologies that we relate to concrete, defined processes and the results thereof. Examples of core technologies include digital wallets, transaction protocols, processing and validation, and exchanges or merchant services.
When developing a crypto or blockchain innovation for a patent, it’s important to consider these categories to give your innovation a clear direction and improve your chances of not only getting the patent approved but to also create a patent that can defend your intellectual property.
Upcoming Trends to Know About
To stay on top of the curve, it’s important to recognize upcoming trends. This allows innovators of blockchain technology to gain inspiration and market insight. It also allows them to improve current processes and find gaps wherein a patent can be established.
What has been seen so far is an early influx of patents starting at the beginning of the year. This indicates that technology innovators and companies are planning on getting a jump start on their cryptocurrency and blockchain patents to absorb more of the space and market for both evolving technologies.
Overall, that indicates strong confidence in cryptocurrency and blockchain use. This is despite previous concerns of the volatility and growing restrictions in some sectors over their applications.
The rising competition among big business and solitary innovators mean we can reasonably expect to see continued growth in these technologies and their applications.
Companies aren’t doing it all alone, either.
While Walmart and IBM are some of the first, their partnership in developing and securing patents indicates that while competition is high, the desire to develop and patent new cryptocurrency and blockchain-based applications is stronger. Partnerships are, in some cases, the best and most efficient means of obtaining these goals.
Expect to see even more ‘traditional’ businesses find ways to get into the market too.
For instance, PayPal, a long-time leader in the payments industry, has recently put in an application to file a patent for a blockchain related innovation. It is believed this is in an attempt to regain some lost ground in its industry.
We can expect businesses to begin making moves to secure these patents and secure their spot in the global market.
Celebrate Your Cryptocurrency Related Patent
The development of patents to get ahead in business is not a new trend. As it stands, patents are the best and most legally defensible way to develop intellectual property and ensure the protection (and profit) thereof.
In developing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology for a patent, it is important to remember that with the high level of interest and competition in the industry, it is absolutely critical to be original, useful, and innovative.
While many companies may create crypto patents without the intent of actually using them (the purpose is to absorb more market space and thus, market control), patent recognition for cryptocurrency companies can be the lifeblood of a company and the progressive innovations it hopes to create and own.
When your company does achieve a patent for a blockchain related innovation, you would definitely want to celebrate it in the best way possible given all the obstacles you had to overcome.
At Stellar Kent, we celebrate your patent with intricately designed patent plaques, patent displays, and other types of patent awards. Contact us today to find out how we can help you display your achievement.