When Chinese language President Xi Jinping introduced sturdy assist for blockchain expertise final month, pundits instructed that China would quickly overtake the US in dominating blockchain improvements. Our patent analysis on the Blockchain Middle of Excellence on the College of Arkansas finds that China is already profitable the Mental Property arms race towards the U.S.
We examined blockchain-related patents that had been granted from January 2014 to October 2019 by China’s patent workplace, the Nationwide Mental Property Administration, or CNIPA, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Workplace, or USPTO. Throughout this era, the CNIPA awarded 2,218 blockchain patents in comparison with 227 by the USPTO.
The distinction in numbers between U.S. and Chinese language patents is barely deceptive, because the CNIPA awarded almost 40 blockchain-related patents to U.S.-based world corporations resembling Goldman Sachs, IBM, Intel, JP Morgan, Mastercard, Microsoft and Visa. In distinction, the USPTO has not awarded blockchain-related patents to any Chinese language-based organizations. This sample holds extra broadly, in accordance with a examine printed by the Federal Reserve Financial institution of Saint Louis, which discovered that solely 4.17% of 1.2 million Chinese language patent functions had been filed abroad in 2016, whereas 43% of 521,802 U.S. patent functions had been filed abroad. Maybe U.S. organizations fear extra about defending their IP abroad than Chinese language organizations do, or maybe this development displays a mistrust within the patentability of the Chinese language functions made abroad, as solely 6.31% of the abroad patent functions filed by Chinese language corporations are granted.
Moreover, the Chinese language patent workplace expedited the patent course of extra shortly than the U.S., taking simply six months on common from patent submitting to acceptance in comparison with 20 months within the U.S. A number of explanations for this are potential: China might have extra sources dedicated to patent processing, or China’s patent course of won’t be as rigorous as it’s within the U.S. Meredith Lowry, a patent legal professional for Wright Lindsey Jennings, shared in a non-public interview:
“Blockchain patent functions within the US patent course of face extra hurdles to point out the invention is patentable material and greater than using an algorithm. The bar for patentable topic isn’t as excessive in different nations like China.”
We additionally analyzed the information to find out the highest classes of improvements protected by the blockchain-related patents, and the highest patent homeowners in every nation.
The IP being protected
The CNIPA and USPTO require patent candidates to make use of the Worldwide Patent Classification for categorizing their patent filings. Every patent usually contains a number of IPC codes. In each nations, the three most ceaselessly occurring IPC codes for blockchain-related patents had been G06, H04 and G07:
G06 (Computing; Calculating; Counting) — covers improvements related to the arithmetic of computing, picture knowledge processing and knowledge era.
H04 (Electrical Communication Approach) — covers a broad vary of digital communications together with transmissions, broadcasts, and secret communications over wired or wi-fi networks.
G07 (Checking-devices) — covers improvements related to registering the receipt of money or tokens, the dealing with of cash or valuables, metering tolls and fares, producing random numbers for lotteries, methods for voting, and extra.
High CNIPA and USPTO patent homeowners
We extracted the highest patent homeowners of granted blockchain-related expertise patents by the CNIPA and USPTO. Within the desk under, we give attention to simply the highest three in every nation. China United Community Communications Group Co., or China Unicom; Alibaba; and NChain Holdings are the highest patent homeowners granted by the CNIPA, whereas IBM, Accenture and Mastercard are the highest patent homeowners granted by the USPTO and likewise maintain patents from the CNIPA.
Pattern patents embrace:
- China Unicom — A Chinese language, government-owned, telecommunications supplier. It has essentially the most patents granted by the CNIPA, with 54 to this point. Certainly one of its patents defines a technique for monitoring meals high quality on a blockchain software (Patent 108537558A).
- Alibaba — based by Jack Ma in 1999 and now the world’s largest on-line retailer. It has the second-highest variety of CNIPA patents awarded, at 51. Alibaba, for instance, has a patent for a music originality evaluation technique and system primarily based on a blockchain (Patent 108595709A).
- Nchain Holdings — has the third-highest variety of patents awarded by the CNIPA, at 37. Nchain is an organization primarily based in the UK in search of to make cryptocurrencies extra globally usable. One patent describes an working system for IoT units managed by a blockchain. Every IoT system has an IP deal with and a cryptographic public-private key pair. Software program controls the system by means of directions that require entry to the non-public key (Patent 109089427A).
- IBM — an American multinational data expertise firm. It owns essentially the most patents granted by the USPTO. Amongst its 34 patents, one offers a technique to preserve and confirm the standing of accounts in multiplayer video games (Patent 10348487).
- Accenture — a worldwide skilled companies agency that’s headquartered in Dublin, Eire. It has 23 patents from the USPTO. Accenture, for instance, patented its invention for an interoperability node that connects totally different blockchains utilizing zero-knowledge proofs (Patent 10298395).
- Mastercard — a worldwide monetary companies firm headquartered in New York Metropolis. Mastercard holds 9 patents with the USPTO, one among which is a great parking meter verification technique utilizing a blockchain (Patent 10198949).
This November, China signaled that it might strengthen its IP legal guidelines. The speed of blockchain-related patent safety within the nation is accelerating, with the sheer variety of China’s blockchain-related patents outpacing the speed of the U.S., however contributing to those numbers are U.S. corporations submitting patents in a number of places to extend their IP safety globally. Subsequently, whereas China might look like accelerating past the U.S. in patent approvals on the floor, a number of main world corporations function in each nations and defend their mental property as such.
The underside line
Blockchain-related patents are only one indicator of a rustic’s blockchain dominance. Favorable rules, the variety of job vacancies, the prevalence and degree of monetary assist supplied to blockchain-startups, energetic participation in world policy-making our bodies, and the variety of blockchain options in manufacturing are different metrics being explored by the Blockchain Middle of Excellence on the College of Arkansas.
The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed below are the authors alone and don’t essentially replicate or symbolize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.