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NChain Receives its First Patent Granted by the European Patent Office

On April 11, 2018, the European Patent Office will publish the mention of grant of a European Patent to NChain relating to an Automated Management Method for Blockchain-Enforced Smart Contracts.

The invention relates generally to computer protocols and, more particularly, to the verification, enforcement and/or performance of condition controlled processes such as, for example, those relating to contracts. The invention is particularly suited for use with a blockchain network, and may be used to advantage with a smart contract. 

Smart contracts can provide benefits such as enhanced security and reduced transactions costs. As mentioned in the patent, while there are known technical solutions which aim to ensure that these contracts cannot be modified once stored, there is no generally accepted public registry to check the validity of the contract i.e. whether it is still open or has been terminated. 

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GOOGLE PATENT FILING ON BLOCKCHAIN SCALING USING BLOCK LATTICES OF INTERCONNECTED BLOCKCHAINS

On March 22, 2018, a patent application by Google related to tamper-evident logging using block lattices was published.

Google wants to patent a solution for blockchains to scale more effectively with logging that allows more efficient querying without compromising tamper-evidence.

According to the patent application, there is provided a system configured to:

  • identify an existing block in a target blockchain,wherein the existing block is associated with a first signature,
  • identify a block of a second blockchain,wherein the block that is identified is associated with a second signature, wherein the second blockchain is not a part of the target blockchain, and
  • add a new block to the target blockchain by: i) linking the new block to both the existing block and the block of the second blockchain that is identified by generating a signature for the new block that is based on the first signature and the second signature, and ii) associating the signature with the new block, wherein the target blockchain and the second blockchain are part of a block lattice.

As such, the new block is inextricably linked to both a preceding block in its own blockchain as well as another block of a different blockchain. The new block then becomes the final block of its blockchain. This linking may form a block lattice. A block lattice refers to a data representation of two or more interconnected blockchains. The electronic device associates the block signature with the new block. For example, the block signature may be added to the new block along with its log records.

A block lattice may be formed by linking blocks of log records that are associated with the same owner (owner identifier). As such, data of a particular owner may be stored along with data of other owners, but easily searched and accessible without risking leaking information of others.

AMEX Patent Filing on Blockchain-Based Payment Network

On March 15, 2018, a patent application by American Express relating to systems and methods for Blockchain-based payment networks was published.

American Express wants the patent to cover a system for operating a payment network, where the system allows approval or refusal of a request to complete a transaction for entry on the blockchain, in dependence on the risk associated with the transaction being acceptable.

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MonetaGo Attempts to Patent the Digital Gold Standard – Asset Exchanges Between Banks

A recent patent publication on March 15, 2018 reveals that MonetaGo Inc. has filed a patent application concerning a computer-implemented method for effectuating an asset exchange between banks.

The concept is clean and simple, and the patent application describes three basic process steps: i) processing the asset exchange between the banks, ii) settling the asset exchange via at least one central bank associated with one or more of the banks, and iii) updating one or more distributed ledgers to memorialize the asset exchange. 

The published patent application mentions cross-border exchanges as a particularly interesting use case, as well as smart contracts.

However, how will the US Patent and Trademark Office respond to the patent filing?

The basic underlying idea of recording an asset exchange (transaction) on a distributed ledger is of course implied already by the Satoshi White Paper in 2008, and Hal Finney discussed the idea that most Bitcoin transactions will occur between banks, to settle net transfers, on the forum BitcoinTalk already in 2010.

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DNA Dynamics Closes Sales of Bitcoin ATM Patent For $700,000

In suite of our news post a few weeks ago that DNA Dynamics acquired the “Bitcoin ATM Patent”, the Bitcoin Patent Report can now report that DNA has recently announced that they have closed on the sale of their patent for $700,000 to Bitcoin ATM Patent, LLC, which is an investment group formed to acquire this patent.  The sale of the patent was successfully brokered by  IPOfferings LLC, a patent brokerage and IP consulting services firm.

According to DNA, the sale of the patent for $700,000 leaves them with $350,000 cash on hand.

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IBM Patent Filing for The Event Ledger

A recent patent publication on March 1, 2018 reveals that IBM has filed a patent application related to a globally accessible, unforgeable, and permanent repository of published events in the form of an event ledger.

A review of the patent application by The Bitcoin Patent Report shows that the proposed method involves receiving a request from a publisher to publish, to an event ledger, an event including the name of the publisher, a date and time at which the event occurred, a description of the event, and a cryptographic signature of the event signed using a private key of the publisher. Moreover, the method involves receiving a certificate from the publisher including a public key of the publisher, validating the cryptographic signature of the event using the received certificate, and publishing the event to the event ledger.

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AsicBoost is Empowering the Blockchain Defensive Patent License

The Blockchain Defensive Patent License addresses a problem that is truly unique to the blockchain industry, namely to prevent the so-called majority attack on any distributed ledger network, including the Bitcoin network, where a group of miners collectively has a majority of the computing or hashing power in the network.

It is believed that AsicBoost is such an important and innovative patent that, if licensed defensively, it can become a force for good to protect decentralization in Bitcoin.

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Turning the Idea of a ‘Bitcoin ATM’ Into Real Money – The Story of One of the First Ever Granted US Patents Related to Bitcoin

The idea of a Bitcoin ATM machine by inventors John and Mark Russell was transformed into a patent application, which was filed on April 4, 2014. The patent application was granted as US Patent 9,135,787 more than a year later on September 15, 2015.

More than two years later, the Bitcoin ATM Patent was acquired by the US firm DNA Dynamics.

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Massive Efforts by Chinese Universities to Patent Blockchain Research

As recently reported by CoinDesk, several top-tier public universities in China such as Zhejiang University, Shenzhen University and Chinese Academy of Sciences are stepping up their efforts to patent Blockchain applications.

However, The Bitcoin Patent Report can now reveal that the efforts made by Chinese academic institutions to patent the innovations of their blockchain research are much more far-reaching than expected.

In fact, recent research in the patent databases shows that Chinese universities together have filed as many as 50 or more patent applications related to Blockchain technology.

 

Top 5 list of Chinese universities applying for Blockchain patents

1 UNIVERSITY OF ELECTRONIC SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY OF CHINA 15
2 GUANGDONG UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY 7
3 JINAN UNIVERSITY 7
4 SUN YAT SEN UNIVERSITY 5
5 TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY 5

Top ranked University of Electronic Science & Technology of China (UESTC) has filed at least 15 patent applications relating to Blockchain technology. UESTC is a research-intensive university in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, commonly ranked as number 1 in China in the field of Electronic Science and Technology. The patent filing efforts by UESTC puts them in the same league as Chinese corporate giants like Tencent Technology and BOE Technology.

Despite the Chinese government’s efforts to control and forbid the usage of cryptocurrencies, it is clear that the Chinese academic institutions are taking all the required actions to protect their innovations in this field of technology.

Marathon Patent Group Acquires Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Patents

According to a press release, Marathon Patent Group (Nasdaq:MARA), announced early in 2018 that it has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire four patents related to the transmission and exchange of cryptocurrencies between buyers and sellers.

Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s Interim Chief Executive Officer stated, “Given our proficiency in identifying and acquiring important intellectual property, we believe that these patents afford us a unique and leverageable position, in addition to complementing our efforts as we enter into the digital asset and cryptocurrency business.”

As with any new and emerging technology the Company’s efforts to enter into businesses involving digital asset mining and cryptocurrency patent licensing and enforcement is subject to significant risk and we may not be successful.