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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Attempts to control the bitcoin industry through patent filings?

There has been much written in recent months concerning the problems that bitcoin pose concerning business and financing. However, we may not even be aware of behind the scenes moves of certain technological giants who have sought control of the bitcoin industry through the filing of patents.

There has been speculation that IBM, eBay and JPMorgan may be attempting to control the industry through the filing of such patents. It now appears that Western Union based out of Colorado has also recently filed a patent that could give it a possible claim on an important aspect of the bitcoin industry.

There is debate about whether such a strategy could truly be effective. The consequences of some of these patents being granted may be limited. Also, certain patents that have been filed have not yet been granted and may never be approved.

Yet there are other companies that are reacting to such patent filings by creating business strategies to attempt to prevent these large companies from monopolizing the bitcoin sphere. For example, a company called Cryptocurrency Defense Foundation would offer services royalty-free to companies that would not assert use of patents against others in the industry. 

Though intellectual property only represents a portion of business law considerations, it is an important component. It’s also extremely complex. Business owners wish to make certain that they are given proper credit for concepts and items that they have created and that their ideas are not infringed upon by others who are borrowing upon these ideas. Because so much money is at stake concerning what company does or does not have intellectual property rights concerning these items, it’s important to speak to attorneys who understand business concerns and can make certain the needs of their business clients are met.

Source: Coin Desk, “Do Patent Filings from eBay and Western Union Pose a Threat to Bitcoin?” Pete Rizzo, May 19, 2014

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