Protecting intellectual property is key to any business, but those who work in virtual currencies face special challenges when it comes to protecting their developments within the industry. Many parties have attempted to patent developments they have made using blockchain technology, but only a number of them have succeeded.
In most cases, new inventions related to the blockchain involve the following concepts:
- Banking and financial access technology, also known as fintech
- Improvements to blockchain efficiency and responsiveness
The IP attorneys at Hart David Carson, can assist businesses, startups, and individuals with protecting their ideas related to cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, and distributed ledger technologies.
Issues With Cryptocurrency-Related Patents
In recent years, the number of patents awarded that related to the blockchain and cryptocurrencies have increased tremendously, and even more applications have been filed. Many companies, parties, and individuals are looking to cash in on the monetization of blockchain technology, but not all of them are able to obtain patents.
In order to qualify for a patent, an invention must fulfill the following requirements:
- It must be new and useful
- It must be a nonobvious invention or improvement/application of existing inventions
- The new application/invention must be at least somewhat concrete—purely abstract ideas cannot be patented
- Specifically, basic economic practices cannot be patented
The efforts many parties go through to create something innovative with respect to the blockchain often result in notions that don’t truly build on the technology, but rather devise applications of the technology that are inherent in its very nature. It is something like the difference between developing new software and using existing software in new business applications. The first could be patented, but the latter could not.
Often, however, the key is not merely the nature of the invention, but the way it is described. Proper wording is always key in protecting IP, and blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies are no exception.
Another issue consists of the evolving nature of the technology and the laws that surround it. Regulators, such as the Chamber of Digital Commerce, have been increasing their efforts in recent years to gain a stronger grasp on the intellectual property issues surrounding blockchain technology, so laws and regulations are likely to become more specific in coming years.
Protecting Cryptocurrency IP
Given the fairly abstract nature of blockchain technology and the applications thereof, as well as the constantly evolving nature of the laws regulating it, it is vital to keep on the cutting edge of developments when it comes to creating and patenting your own cryptocurrency-related IP. Otherwise, your own inventions may be compromised as they are left exposed to usage by others.
A keen legal eye can assist tremendously in determining whether your invention is patentable while also helping with the nuances of your application. Our attorneys are highly experienced in the realm of intellectual property and licensing laws, and we continue monitoring developments in the law with respect to new technologies, including distributed ledger and cryptocurrency technologies.
For more information on how we can help protect your cryptocurrency-related inventions, contact Hart David Carson, today.
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