Unpicking the Gordian Knot Around Blockchain Patents


Earliest mentions of the term “bitcoin” in patent titles and abstracts date back to around 2009, while the term “blockchain” begins to appear in patent titles from around 2011. As of June 22, 2016, there were 492 published patent families directed to the theme of blockchain and 192 relating to bitcoin.

Patent applications filed over the last year and a half would not be visible in these statistics, and it is expected that significant numbers of new patent applications connected to these themes have been filed in that period. The numbers we are seeing likely represent the tip of the iceberg.

It’s tricky to say exactly who’s filing these patents, but, anecdotally, the early-stage business community is out-innovating the incumbent banking organizations by some measure, and are likely to be responsible for much of this innovation.

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