To support the open-source spirit, a crypto patent alliance has been formed.
Square, the New York-based total price company, founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, pushes crypto companies to join its newly formed patent alliance to foster an open-source ecosystem inside the industry and combat patent trolls.
Square has established the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (Copa) as a non-profit organization in the interests of preventing companies from exploiting the patent system to either lock up valuable innovations or avoid competing research.
Square stated in a statement that “locking up core bitcoin technologies in patents stifles innovation and adoption, and abusive use of patents by horrible actors harms the evolution of cryptocurrency innovations.”
“We feel that cryptocurrency’s success is contingent on the network joining together to build and improve upon existing technology to develop, which isn’t possible when events tie up a foundational era in patents and litigation,” it continued.
The increased utilization of so-called “pre-emptive patents” stems from the belief that candidates don’t have any actual plans to expand but need to prevent other businesses from doing so.
As a result, so-called patent trolls have emerged, releasing a slew of patent programs each year based on speculation. Last year, moreover, 5,800 applications were submitted, but just 3% of them were successful.
Candidates for membership in Copa must be willing to make their patents openly available and commit not to exploit their inventions offensively. The hope is that as the shared patent library increases, more parties will join to gain access to the innovative technology.
Square has dedicated itself to incorporating its patents into the new collection, except for any filings connected to current patent applications.
Square further speculated that Copa might be a separate entity with its board of directors.
Square Forms Group to Stop Patent Hoarding From Stifling Crypto Innovation
Other cryptocurrency companies are being invited to join Jack Dorsey’s “association” to pool patents and protect the industry’s open-source philosophy.
- Square announced on Thursday the formation of the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a non-profit dedicated to preventing firms from enclosing essential innovations in patents, a practice Square claims stifles innovation.
- Square stated in a statement that “locking up core cryptocurrency technology in patents stifles innovation and adoption, and hostile use of patents by unscrupulous actors undermines the evolution of bitcoin technologies.”
- In addition to carefully preserving their crypto work, some businesses go even further, submitting “pre-emptive patents” for ideas they have no plans to pursue but which obstruct competitors’ research.
- COPA members must agree to make their patents openly available to all other members through a shared library to join.
- Square, which entered the crypto space in 2018 and has already committed to putting its crypto patents into the new library, described the library as a “community shield” that will defend members from “patent aggressors.”
- Only those filed to preserve existing patent applications will be exempt.
- Between 2016 and 2017, the number of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related patents in the United States doubled; this year, Microsoft filed a patent for a mining system driven by physical exertion, while IBM filed a patent for a “self-aware” token.
- Assuming that the patent library expands and gains traction, more companies will seek to join COPA to gain access to technological advancements, resulting in an equal patent environment.
- COPA will be open to any company that works in crypto, regardless of whether it holds patents or not.
- According to a spokeswoman, COPA will be a different company from Square, with its board of directors.
CoinDesk is a media outlet that works for the best journalistic standards and adheres to a stringent set of editorial norms. It is the leading source of news and information about cryptocurrency, digital assets, and the future of money. Digital Currency Group’s CoinDesk is an autonomous operational entity that invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.