Square launches cryptocurrency patent alliance to fight the trolls

Square, the U.S.-based financial services company headed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is establishing a consortium to fight patent trolling and ensure open access to technology in the crypto sector.

The ‘Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance’ (COPA) seeks to democratize access to innovative technologies in the crypto sector, asserting that “open access to patents covering foundational cryptocurrency technologies is necessary for the community to grow, freely innovate, and build new and better products.”

Members of the alliance will agree to pool crypto and blockchain patents into COPA’s library, ensuring open access to technologies developed by participating firms. The alliance website says:

“Cryptocurrency technology and its adoption is still at a nascent stage. We believe that cryptocurrency’s success depends on the community coming together to build and develop upon existing technologies to innovate, which is not possible when parties tie up foundational technology in patents and litigation.”

The alliance hopes to “transform the way patents are viewed and used in the crypto world,” emphasizing the opportunity for patents to be employed to advance innovation in the sector, rather than to hinder the industry’s development.

As of April 17 2020, Alibaba Group held the most blockchain patents with 2,344. It filed for 470 patents in 2019. Tencent is looking to accelerate its patent hoarding with 718 filings last year.

Controversial self-proclaimed ‘Satoshi’ Craig Wight, is frequently accused of being a patent troll for his efforts, and his company nChain’s efforts, to secure hundreds of blockchain patents.

While more than 5,800 applications for patent blockchain patents were filed last year, only 3% were granted during 2019.

Similar efforts to create a “collective shield” against “patent aggressors” have been undertaken in the music industry, with programmers and musicians Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin developing software to generate nearly every possible melody in defiance of the controversial music litigation industry earlier this year.

In March, Katy Perry successfully had a ruling reversed concerning a lawsuit filed by Christian rapper, Flame, that sought $2.8 million for Perry’s use of 8-bit musical timbre in the song Dark Horse — which Flame claimed had been stolen from his song Joyful Noise.

In 1993, former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer John Fogerty was sued by the owner of Fantasy Records for allegedly ripping off a song that he had written 23 year prior, that the record label had come to own the rights to.

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