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Bitcoin Patents

JPMorgan Files Patent Application On 'Bitcoin Killer' 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-digital-benjamins dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Banking giant JPMorgan Chase has filed a patent application for an electronic commerce system that sounds remarkably like Bitcoin — but never mentions the controversial, Internet-only currency. The patent application was filed in early August but made publicly available only at the end of November; it describes a 'method and system for processing Internet payments using the electronic funds transfer network.' The system would allow people to pay bills anonymously over the Internet through an electronic transfer of funds — just like Bitcoin. It would allow for micropayments without processing fees — just like bitcoin. And it could kill off wire transfers through companies like Western Union — just like Bitcoin. There are 18,126 words in the patent application. 'Bitcoin' is not one of them."
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JPMorgan Files Patent Application On 'Bitcoin Killer'

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  • by Sir Holo (531007) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:39PM (#45655665)

    From the USPTO PAIR database, "By this preliminary Amendment, claims 1-154 have been canceled..."

    154 claims canceled?!? Typical patents have around 21 claims. USPTO charges per-claim over 21 total claims. JP Morgan's application had 170 claims — way beyond even a 3-sigma deviation for all patent applications. That is, it's amateurish. But, somehow they managed to avoid paying the $80/each for the excess claims. Most rejections were nominally due to the claims being "too abstract."

    So, anyways, from the USPTO PAIR database — JP Morgan are claiming that their filing is under pre-AIA conditions. That is, that they are first to invent, and are not subject to the current first to file rules. Big difference. The inventor filed an "oath" regarding the invention date. Uh huh. USPTO also says, "Claims 155-175 are allowed over the prior art of record based on the earliest priority of the parent applications." I couldn't find the priority date that they are claiming, or whether it is before their filing date, but one might guess they are trying to get a pre-BitCoin patent priority date. Jerks. Once a patent is allowed and issued, any challenge to their priority would face a high hurdle, and would be expensive to prosecute.

    If only someone knew of some actual prior art, and that this person also knew the name and contact information for the patent examiner. Hmmn...

    Ah, here we are: From their non-final rejection, "Any inquiry concerning this communication or earlier communications from the examiner should be directed to JAGDISH PATEL whose telephone number is (571) 272-6748." I'm sure he has an email address as well.

    Good luck, and if no one here is willing to help nuke this, I'll send it over to the 4chan trogs.

    Last, below is the Public PAIR filing-documents web address. Go there and search for "Publication Number" 20130317984. Click the "Image File Wrapper" tab to see PDFs of all communications between JP Morgan and the USPTO. Happy hunting!

  • It doesn't matter. If the people behind Bitcoin never bothered to file for a patent, JP Morgan is now going to get it first--meaning Bitcoin will then be in violation of said patent (as unfair as that is).

    That's not how first-to-file works. If the people behind Bitcoin kept Bitcoin secret, never published anything, never used it publicly, etc., and then (i) JP Morgan filed a patent application on it, and (ii) subsequently the people behind Bitcoin filed a patent application on it, then JP Morgan would win and get the patent - because, given two applications by two different inventors on the same invention, the first-to-file wins (hence the name). This is as opposed to the first-to-invent system, where in the above scenario, Bitcoin would win if they could show lab notebooks and internal documents showing that they actually invented it prior to JP Morgan and were working on reducing it to practice the whole time. Those proceedings were called interferences, and they occurred, on average, about 20 times a year. Out of half a million applications. That's literally all the change to "first to file" means, and those .004% applications are all that were affected. It has nothing to do with what's prior art or whether Bitcoin, which predates JP Morgan's application, can infringe any patent granted from it - and no, it can't. Not unless they change their implementation to incorporate something new that's in the JP Morgan application. If they freeze the implementation here, they can't possibly ever infringe.

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)