For this article, I want to review the market, review two different popular types of patents issued by the United States, and discuss company rankings for blockchain patents thus far.
Nothing should be considered financial or investment advice. Enjoy the ride.
The market may be bleeding out, but the news and influence in the space is larger than ever before. clearly, news no longer directly effects the cryptocurrency scene. In terms of market efficiency, one could speculate the crypto industry is a semi-strong efficient market. This is league above the former market where any whisper of news could push the market into wide swings.
In today’s time, this is not necessarily the case. The market movements seem to be uninfluenced by constant FUD or glorified shilling. Trading crypto has become more difficult with the lack of predictability in the market. The general buy and sell levels still exist, but the days of massive 10x gains in a week seem to be long gone.
If you are trading, it would be wise to keep tighter stop losses, and make sure to capture gains quickly. As the price of Bitcoin grows, the time intervals between price deltas diminishes leading to shorter periods to effectively take profits.
Companies Fighting Over Blockchain
Outside of the immediate market, companies are hoarding blockchain patents. When ever any new market emerges, there is always ways to make money besides the traditional start up or speculation. In light of this, large companies will develop and create patents on different products or ideas, regardless if they will utilize them or not.
United States Patents
For those unfamiliar with patents, lets take a moment to go over the two most common types of patents issued by the United States of America.
The first type of patent is called a utility patent. A utility patent prevents others from manufacturing, selling, using or distributing your invention or product. Like most patents, these can last up to 20 years in some instances. Specifically, utility patents are granted to protect the function or utility of a product from other competitors.
The second patent we will review is a design patent. A design patent can be issued to protect the aesthetics, appearance, design, or shape of a product. Similar to the utility patents, design patents are specifically for new products that are unique and not obvious. Although, if a design patent is filled, the utility of the product is not protected. In addition, these patents last 14 years in most cases, and can be appealed to last longer.
Companies Seek Blockchain Patents
In total, there are around 6 patents the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can issue. Now that we have that base knowledge of two types of patents, what are companies doing? Well, it is smart for large organizations to issue patents over just about anything they can get their hands on.
Why would they do this? Simply, if a new company comes along and takes a product to market that you own the patent on, you can potentially seize their profits. On top of this, patents can be sold for large sums of money, or can be used as leverage to gain a market advantage over other competitors.
The top company that owns the most blockchain patents currently is none other than IBM. In general, IBM was granted over 9,100 patents in 2018 alone.
The second company behind IBM for the most blockchain patents is Bank of America, followed by MasterCard, Intel, and Alibaba Group. Surprisingly, Microsoft is further down the list than anticipated with their wide range of developers and influence in the space.
What is very odd is the fact that Walmart has more patents on blockchain technology then most of the other companies in America. It is not hard to speculate that Walmart will be looking to utilize these patents in the coming years for more than just supply chain management based on the aggressiveness of Walmart.