Blockchain Patent Strategy
Blockchain patents are evolving rapidly, and companies may need to challenge to validity of few blockchain patents soon. Recently, it has been reported by Coindesk that Bank of America has started extensive research on technologies relating to cryptocurrencies. Companies believe that digital asset technology innovations are growing at an enormous speed and many blockchain patents are getting filed worldwide. During launch of crypto tokens, companies engage blockchain lawyers to research and prepare utility token legal opinion certifying that the tokens do not qualify as a security token. In 2018, Bank of America filed a patent application for a permissioned, or invite-only, blockchain to record internet-of-things (IoT) node data, among many such similar patents. With such immense growth of blockchain patent landscape, it is evident that various companies may soon begin invalidating few blockchain patents through patent invalidation searches.
Blockchain Patent Invalidation
A patent invalidation search is an extensive prior art search and is conducted to either invalidate the claim of the competitor’s blockchain patent or to validate the applicant’s claim covering blockchain innovations. Such searches are sometimes conducted to prepare for defense against a patent infringement allegation. The date of priority or the earliest priority date of the patent application plays an important role in this type of search. The search is conducted to look for disclosures that had been filed before the priority date of the patent in question, referred to as prior art documents. This type of search is usually conducted on behalf of third parties known as ‘opponents’ who believe that the patent granted infringes the other patents. The essence of this type of search is to uncover those prior art that render the granted patent invalid which is currently in force.
Blockchain Patent Search Objective
The objective of the blockchain invalidity search is to search for significant prior art that has been previously missed by the patent examiner and further to challenge another person’s patent to invalidate his patent. The search is generally concentrated on the language of claims rather than the whole of the document unlike novelty searches that are based on the whole of a patent document. The Invalidity search examines the non-obviousness behind the innovation and claim stated in the competitor’s patent.
Blockchain Patent Search Advantages
The blockchain patent invalidity search is conducted in case of patent infringement, when an applicant’s patent is challenged by the competitors. Consequently, this search is carried out as a means of defense for the applicant to ascertain the validity of his patent. The search usually is based on the language of the claim to analyze the extent of novelty of the invention. The case gets dissolved, if after conducting the search, it is found that the applicant’s claims are not in compliance with that of the competitor. Generally, this type of search is carried out after the patent has been granted.
How to conduct Patent Invalidity Search
The very first step in Blockchain Patent Invalidation search is to search for relevant prior art both patent and non-patent literature, using various databases and conduct comprehensive research on claim insights. It is pertinent to note that to carry invalidity search the priority date for the claims of the infringed patent needs to be set up initially. This helps in searching for disclosures that are filed before the priority date of the infringed patent, referred to as prior art.
Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.
Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).
Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.