Despite Alibaba filing more patents, the United States still takes the lead as the country with the most blockchain copyrights, a Sept. 17 report from intellectual property consultancy KISSPatent.
The U.S. has 2,112 patents, followed by the Cayman Islands with 350 filings and Canada with 118. The rest of the top six are Japan with 108, South Korea with 87 and China with 77 patents.
The Cayman Islands is second, as most of Alibaba’s blockchain applications are located on the island.
Although Chinese companies are often represented in various “top 10” blockchain patent lists, they aren’t pure blockchain companies. The report says these companies focused on blockchain applications as part of their technology portfolio. The reason for China to fill so many patents was to avoid some trading sanctions overseas. It explained that:
“They’ve learned from the example of Xiaomi, the “Chinese Apple,” which was blocked from selling its smartphones in its foray out of China – because the Swedish Ericsson held so many patents.”
The most popular category of patent filing is for fintech applications. These include applications using cryptocurrencies, supporting storage or the exchange of cryptocurrencies. It represents half of all blockchain patent applications, says the report. Other popular categories were decentralized business platforms, solutions deployed over blockchain, business services with a financial component, healthcare and traditional banking services grafted onto the blockchain.
IBM and Alibaba hold the most blockchain patents. Alibaba, in particular, has filed 10 times more patents than IBM in 2020. According to KISSPatent, more blockchain patents have been filed in the first half of 2020 than all of 2019.
Many industry players expressed concern over patent trolling, so Square helped launch the Cryptocurreny Open Patent Alliance. The group wants to democratize access to innovative technologies.