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Patents Technology

Bank of America Tops IBM, Payments Firms With Most Blockchain Patents (bloomberg.com) 45

Bank of America may not be willing to help customers invest in Bitcoin, but that doesn't mean it isn't plowing into the technology underlying the cryptocurrency. From a report: The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender has applied for or received at least 43 patents for blockchain, the ledger technology used for verifying and recording transactions that's at the heart of virtual currencies. It is the largest number among major banks and technology companies, according to a study by EnvisionIP, a New York-based law firm that specializes in analyses of intellectual property. "Based on what's publicly out there, the technology sector hasn't embraced blockchain as much as the financial-services industry," Maulin Shah, managing attorney for EnvisionIP, said in an interview. International Business Machines Corp., which has targeted blockchain and artificial intelligence for future growth, tied with Mastercard Inc. for second on the list, with 27 each.
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Bank of America Tops IBM, Payments Firms With Most Blockchain Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I want to patent gold can i patent gold while we're at it?

  • Bullshit patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @02:53PM (#55940369) Homepage Journal

    They didn't invent this tech yet they're patenting the shit out of it.

    The people that work at the USPTO need to be shot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Lest not forget they're patenting an open source project. When will prior art set in and invalidate these patents i ask?

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        Lest not forget they're patenting an open source project. When will prior art set in and invalidate these patents i ask?

        The USPO is very strict about what constitutes prior art and being published as an open source project does not count.

    • Re:Bullshit patents (Score:5, Interesting)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @03:15PM (#55940533)

      They didn't invent this tech yet they're patenting the shit out of it.

      The people that work at the USPTO need to be shot.

      Most likely this wouldn't be patents on the blockchain itself, but patents on how to integrate it into other banking technology.

      But that's not the only scenario, I expect two main possibilities of what's going on here.

      1) They're planning on using the blockchain to help with money transfers between banks. No so much a crypto-currency but a way to track existing currency.
      2) They're trying to solve the same problems bitcoin is trying to solve, with the intention of preventing bitcoin from using that solution (and thus blocking crypto-currencies).

      • Ripple probably already has patents on whatever they're trying to patent here.

      • 1) They're planning on using the blockchain to help with money transfers between banks. No so much a crypto-currency but a way to track existing currency.

        This is a solved problem and Bitcoin doesn't help with it at all.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        2) They're trying to solve the same problems bitcoin is trying to solve, with the intention of preventing bitcoin from using that solution (and thus blocking crypto-currencies).

        How would one go about using patents to block Bitcoin? Would the patent holder try to sue Bitcoin? Would one serve the entire Bitcoin community a cease-and-desist and what could you do if most people just ignored it? This seems like Google suing the English language over its adoption of "google" as a verb.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @03:19PM (#55940569)

      They didn't invent this tech yet they're patenting the shit out of it.

      BofA is behaving rationally. Even if they only intend to act defensively (unlikely) they need a patent portfolio to do so.

      The people that work at the USPTO need to be shot.

      The USPTO is just doing their job. It is congress who needs to ban software patents.

      But people who oppose software patents, and are willing to vote or donate based on the issue, are rare and dispersed. That makes it a politically ineffective issue. So don't expect anything to change.

    • by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <theaetetus.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @03:31PM (#55940661) Homepage Journal

      They didn't invent this tech yet they're patenting the shit out of it.

      The people that work at the USPTO need to be shot.

      They're not patenting the block chain generally, they're patenting specific implementations, improvements, etc. It's like if someone told you that GM, Tesla, and Toyota all got issued patents last year, and you responded that Mr. Benz invented the car back in 1879 so the people involved needed to be shot. There have been lots of patentable improvements to cars since then. As long as the patents are targeted to those improvements, it's fine.

    • Back in high school, the saying was:

      "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym."

      In the high tech Blockchain Mixed Martial Arts Arena the saying is:

      "Those who can't do, patent."

  • Knife stabs and shreds patent. I tend to agree that the USPTO should be put to pasture. Copyright is so 200 years ago. Knowledge should be collective. And open-source ideas can't be patented. I'll show you BOFA just how well your shit holds up in court - just well enough to put down one person, because one bailiff probably couldn't restrain two people from eviscerating your ugly fucking faces.

    Seriously, if the USPTO has the ability to decree from up on high who owns what idea, who owns them? They're just
  • The power of a patent is confounding. Many people think of it as a way to protect a product that you will sell. It's sorta the opposite: A patent simply prevents others from using the thing. In many cases, there is no intention to create a product at all; only to prevent others. This may be one of those cases.

  • by kbonin ( 58917 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @03:29PM (#55940635) Homepage

    With our fun new "first to file" patent system, not only can corporations beat almost any inventor to locking up an idea, we've nearly completely killed open science! And while many historians consider "first to file" to be a big part of the growth of American innovation and business in the previous centuries, we needed to reprioritize to help usher in our glorious new Gilded Age. Remember children, the government is just taking care of the most important citizens! So rejoice in your serfdom, and pick up that can...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • With our fun new "first to file" patent system, not only can corporations beat almost any inventor to locking up an idea, we've nearly completely killed open science! And while many historians consider "first to file" to be a big part of the growth of American innovation and business in the previous centuries, we needed to reprioritize to help usher in our glorious new Gilded Age. Remember children, the government is just taking care of the most important citizens! So rejoice in your serfdom, and pick up that can...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      This should be marked misleading, not interesting. The change from first-to-invent to first-to-file was minor: it did away with opposition proceedings, where two inventors file for applications on the same invention and the patent office has a mini-trial to determine which one actually invented it first. They cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and out of a half million patent applications a year, there were on average twenty oppositions. Not twenty thousand. Twenty.

      And it has nothing to do with corporations vs. inventors. Even in the first-to-invent days, most inventors worked for corporations, so it was still corporations filing on applications.

      In short, none of what you said has any basis in reality, except for your wiki link. So, good job there.

      • by kbonin ( 58917 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @05:10PM (#55941361) Homepage

        So, who are you trolling for ?

        In the past any inventor who could produce documentation proving they invented something could gain priority over one filed by some who learned of the invention and had their legal team rush out a patent. Under "first to file" open science is basically dead, as any group collaborating openly online is at perpetual risk of having their work patented by anyone who learns of it and files before they can.

        This has massively stifled online collaboration, as important inventions made in private now result in the inventor taking out a loan and going dark for 5-7 years while they wait for the USPTO to get around to their application.

        It has also emboldened corporations to accelerate preexisting efforts to file as many patents as possible on anything promising.

        The commons, like most public resources, are being privatized, and patents are a major drag on nearly every aspect of innovation.

        • So, who are you trolling for ?

          Reality? I'm a patent attorney. The way you described it is not how it works. It's not how any of this works. I don't care if you're pro- or anti-patent, but you should have the basic facts right.

          In the past any inventor who could produce documentation proving they invented something could gain priority over one filed by some who learned of the invention and had their legal team rush out a patent.

          ... provided they also filed for a patent application, as "secret" invention has never been protected, even under first-to-invent. And now, under first-to-file, an inventor who can produce documentation proving that they invented something can still gain priority over an earlier application by someone who learned of the invention from them and had their legal team rush out a patent. It's called a derivation proceeding [uspto.gov].

          Under "first to file" open science is basically dead, as any group collaborating openly online is at perpetual risk of having their work patented by anyone who learns of it and files before they can.

          Under "first to invent", open science was similarly dead, because no company worth their salt would let inventors collaborate openly online about new inventions without having filed at least a provisional application, since they would lose their ability to file in most overseas jurisdictions.
          Or, conversely, open science is just as alive as ever, if you want to collaborate and not obtain patents. Obviously, the changes to the patent system don't affect unpatented inventions given to the public domain.

          This has massively stifled online collaboration

          I'm sure you have a citation?

          as important inventions made in private now result in the inventor taking out a loan and going dark for 5-7 years while they wait for the USPTO to get around to their application.

          Not at all - the inventor files a provisional application, at a whopping $140 for a small entity or as low as $70 for a micro entity, and then can freely discuss their invention openly.
          Furthermore, even if they wait and file the full non-provisional application, they don't have to wait for "5-7 years" for the Office to get around to the application - heck, it's going to be published in 18 months anyway. But their priority is secured, and they can start discussing it immediately.

          Also, forgive me for making an assumption, but this is Slashdot, so... are you primarily discussing software and computer patents? Or pharma? Because the former would be obsolete in 5-7 years, and no one files an application and then sits on their thumbs for that long without doing anything. Pharma, with its various clinical trial requirements, has a much longer term... but even then, they're doing public trials, so it wouldn't make any sense to "stay dark" for 5-7 years.

          It has also emboldened corporations to accelerate preexisting efforts to file as many patents as possible on anything promising.

          That does not seem to be supported by the numbers [uspto.gov]. If it was true, we would expect to see more files post-AIA than pre-. But we don't. In fact, the numbers have been pretty steady relative to the economy as a whole.

          The commons, like most public resources, are being privatized, and patents are a major drag on nearly every aspect of innovation.

          Again, this doesn't seem to be supported by the statistics. It is an opinion, and perhaps a popular one among people on Slashdot who haven't got any patents, but it's one based in prejudice and blind faith, rather than evidence. So, I guess if anti-patentism is your religion, then there's really nothing I could say to change your mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Banks understand that the power to manage currency is at the root of modern sovereignty. They are not going to be caught out if digital currencies become the norm. The USPTO is just one one battleground they will fight on.

  • Who wants to bet: BoA isn't really interested in BlockChain. They are interested in being able to attack targets at will with their patent lawyers. Who cares if they patent existing technology? Or obvious extensions thereof? By the time anyone survives a patent lawsuit, they are a few million poorer, and have been seriously distracted from whatever they were doing.

    Whatever you think of digital currencies, the pace of innovation is currently breathtaking. Once people start having to dodge stupidly obvious pa

    • This could also work nicely for trolling. Crash the cryptomarket by suing one of the top 10 or even top 100 coins. Watch the market crash. Buy low, say sorry and sell high. Anyway, the first thing to come to mind is naturally to use such patents to cripple the coins and innovations. Even getting one team down by millions would make other teams think twice and rates plummet.

  • So Bank of America is oficially in the patent-troll game now?

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!

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