Are European blockchain innovators falling behind in the next IP arms race?

There is nothing more relaxing on a Sunday afternoon than browsing the EPO case law database.

To my surprise though, there are no (as in absolutely 0) hits for “blockchain”, i.e. it is not mentioned in any board of appeal decision.

Ok, blockchain is a relatively young technology (at least from a patent law perspective) and appeal cases take a couple of years.

So I did some more research:

Google patents lists 41 European patent applications and one single (!) European patent having “blockchain” in the full-text: EP 3 125 489 B1 (“Mitigating blockchain attack”) assigned to British Telecommunications.

Applicants from other countries seem to be more active:

  • USA: 459 applications and 57 patents
  • China: 163 applications and 25 patents

Are European blockchain innovators falling behind in the next IP arms race?

Ok, this will change soon because of the various blockchain patent applications I’ve been drafting lately for my European clients 😊 But anyway:

European blockchain innovators, where are you? And why don’t you protect your IP?

Let me know in the comments!

[Update 15 Feb 2018] My colleague Alexander Esslinger has drawn up some interesting statistics on blockchain patent activity which are worth a look.

P.S.: This was just the tip of the iceberg. If you want more, get on my email list. I usually write an update every two weeks or so – it features inside knowledge and practical tips on European software patents. You can subscribe here.

Hi, I'm a European patent attorney with a computer science background and a partner at one of the largest IP firms in Europe. About | Contact