Report: United States Beating China in Core Blockchain Tech Patents
February 6, 2019 by Akshay Makadiya
A new report suggests U.S. filers have been awarded more blockchain patents focusing on core tech, like mining and proof-of-work, than filers from any other country. On the other hand, the Chinese file more blockchain patents than anyone. Will China’s large patent filing volume eventually translate to working blockchain applications?
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Americans Trend Toward Core Blockchain Tech Patents
A new report on blockchain patents from the last decade by U.K.-based research group cintelliq limited has highlighted that American filers are well ahead of all nations presently with respect to the amount of patents granted on core blockchain tech.
In their analysis, cintelliq categorized all blockchain patent applications — more than 5,750 to date — into four categories: applications, core technology, general inventions, and mixed core/applications tech.
As for core tech, that included applications concerning subjects like proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, and mining hardware optimizations, while applications patents were found to be focused on things like smart contracts, digital certificate management, and beyond.
U.S. entities topped the cintelliq list for the most blockchain patents awarded thus far with 186. Together, American and South Korean applicants accounted for more than 70 percent of all awarded blockchain patents in the last decade. China is in a distant third with 74 patents granted.
The report also suggested that of the four aforementioned patent categories, U.S filers have by and large trended toward core tech applications with 377 applied for as of 2018. Chinese filers have alternatively trended toward general blockchain applications, having filed 696 of them.
China Has the Sheer Numbers, But What of It?
The cintelliq report indicates that overall blockchain-related patent applications have surged almost twofold in 2018.
As the blockchain rat race heats up, China still holds the lead with its citizens accounting for 41 percent of all blockchain patents ever filed. U.S. sources account for 32 percent and are followed by South Korean and U.K. filers.
China’s filing dominance is undoubtedly a result of government-backed patent incentive programs there. These programs offer tax benefits to enterprises that are seeking to have patents granted. As a result, significant numbers of applications are just filed to claim the benefits. Last year, Bloomberg reported that 37 percent of the invention patents in China are dumped within five years.
So while China files more blockchain patents than anyone, the chances of these inventions actualizing aren’t necessarily great compared to other nations.
Even at the enterprise level, there is only one Chinese company –Alibaba Group Holding Limited — that comes in the top five blockchain patent assignees, while there are two U.S. enterprises, IBM Corporation and Mastercard International Inc., that place in that top five.
What’s your take on China’s patent incentive initiative? Will the nation be a hub for blockchain innovation in the years ahead, or will other countries take the lead? Share your views in the comments section.
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