As the new facets of the blockchain technology unfold, many of the professionals working in the field of intellectual property (IP) are encouraging the innovators/organizations to patent their innovations to further stimulate the development of blockchain technology process. As it is clear from statistics, the number of applications filed for patenting blockchain during 2013⎯17 was 2900. Out of these 2900 applications, 55.4% belonged to China with the US coming a close second in the list. The industry has witnessed an astronomical 280% increase in the blockchain investment during 2017⎯18 and accordingly, the filing of a number of patents is expected to rise further. From the patents already filed, it is clear that obtaining the core technology patent in the field of blockchain is quite a difficult task because of the high level of competition. However, we have witnessed more and more companies applying for patents in the diverse fields of blockchain applications pertaining to the sectors like food tracking, medical records, and drug tagging. In the coming years too, these sectors are expected to witness more growth in the patent filing number.
Blockchain Patent Scenario
United Kingdom (UK) has around 13,000 blockchain developers although when it comes to the filing of the patents, the country’s performance is just about average. In terms of the share of countries, China is at the topmost number of filed patents followed closely by the US. IBM and Alibaba are the companies leading the race in blockchain technology and have filed a maximum number of blockchain patents worldwide.
The European companies are clearly missing on protecting their blockchain innovations, and this explains the keenness of the European Patent Office (EPO) to grant patents in this technology area. In fact, the EPO organized an inaugural conference on 4th December last year where detailed discussions were held related to patenting blockchain and other allied processes. The objective of the conference was to apprise the participants about the importance of filing patents and how to secure their blockchain technology innovations. The EPO also explain the various processes involved in patenting and more importantly, why it is necessary for the companies to file for the patent process.
Patent Filing Process
In order to file for the patent, the best possible way to start is to talk to an experienced patent attorney, EPO said. This will help the organizations to properly frame their patent application and get the patent as quickly as possible. Another important area to focus upon is to have clarity about what kind of a technical effect has been achieved through the blockchain innovation that the company wants to get patented. Working through the attorney may feel a bit costly in the short term, but it is always going to be beneficial when it comes to improving the prospects of getting the patent for any innovation in the field of blockchain technology.