The patent war is a “battle” between corporations or individuals to secure patents for litigation, whether offensively or defensively. There are ongoing patent wars between the world's largest technology and software corporations. The occurrence of patent wars has been shaped by the digital age, as the rapid pace of innovation makes much of the patent system obsolete.
Businessweek had famously written, “only lawyers win patent wars.” nChain is aware of it and is seeking to hire a Lawyer to protect its patents. Earlier this month, BitcoinExchangeGuide had reported that nChain’s Craig Wright has apparently applied for a whopping 114 blockchain patents since the start of 2017.
The job advertisement for the opening states:
“The Patent Counsel role is a unique opportunity to help build one of the leading patent positions in the blockchain space (nChain is currently in the top 5 of patent applicants) and put it to use in support of nChain’s commercial objectives. The role would suit a recently qualified patent attorney in private practice who would like to experience working in-house, a team small enough to provide broad exposure to, and significant responsibility for creating and exploiting commercially valuable IP assets.”
It is worth pointing out that between August 2017 and March 2019, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has “published 155 patent applications” — out of which 114 have been filed by Wright.
A large amount of filings begs the question: Why do nChain Holdings and the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto need so many patents? According to nChain, intellectual property (IP) is being obtained to protect the technology. In the second quarter of 2018, when Mastercard had acquired a patent to secure the rights of a product that facilitates anonymous cryptocurrency transactions, Coingeek’s Calvin Ayre stated:
“This is precisely why Nchain has to go the patent route … to protect technology they invent to release open source.”
With Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America, and Nchain, the range of patent applications lodged today is quite wide. Many cryptocurrency fans believe that patents are part of a strategic move to threaten developers, startups and smaller firms for years to come.
Patents are intended to protect intellectual property and encourage innovation, granting innovative companies a temporary competitive advantage over their rivals; however, patents have been used offensively through threats of litigation. This forces companies to allocate time and money that could have been better spent on research and development.