Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Blockchain has been receiving the hype it deserves in patent field. We have reviewed patents with the keyword “blockchain” to discover common areas of use. Blockchain patent classes can be categorized under several CPC classes. We have picked G06Q20, H04L9/3247, H04L2209/56, H04L9/30 classes.
G06Q20 Group represents Payment Protocols. Patent applications that involve blockchain in payment protocols have grown more than double between 2016 and 2017. (112 patents published in 2017) 47 patents have been filed in 2018 so far. Mastercard has the the highest number of patents (17). The Highest occurrence of keyword has been in the patent “Method and System for Linkage of Blockchain-based Assets to Fiat Currency Accounts”. As a summary it involves the use of existing payment systems for blockchain to increase its transaction speed. NChain Holdings a company based in London and Vancouver is dedicated to Research and Development activity in blockchain also holds a significant number of patents.
Digital Signature is another area of use.(H04L9/3247) Its patent volume have grown 6 times since 2016–2017. In addition to Mastercard and Nchain, Chronicled company has one of the highest volume of patents focusing on securing and authenticating exchange of physical assets in the supply chain.
Nchain Holdings holds the highest number of patents in the field of Electronic payments and e-money class (H04L2209/56).
Encryption Keys using blockchain is a growing are of patents. (H04L9/30) Tyco Integrated Security (13) and Accenture Global Solutions (11) has the high volume of patents in the area. Accenture has developed a hardware dependent interface that integrated blockchain with the existing security modules used by banks.
The current growth in patent classes are focusing on electronic payments, digital signature, encryption and contracts. Technology developers can focus on using payment protocols and electronic payments for financial markets and insurance to develop new models of financial instruments. Digital signatures can be used in government and online service authentication. Encryption keys and smart contracts can be used to identify and track goods in the internet of things domain. Recent explosion of interest in blockchain in past 2 years shows sufficient horizon for new inventions to take place in the future.