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09.02.18

Cryptocurrency Patents Are Bogus (Abstract) Patents and Red Hat Ought to Quit Pursuing Blockchain (Software) Patents

Posted in America, Patents, Red Hat at 10:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘patent-printing’ machine just carries on printing

Cryptocurrency printing

Summary: With cryptocurrencies and with blockchains receiving a lot of buzz we’re also seeing patents being granted on them, never mind if such patents are clearly abstract and thus not patent-eligible

THE fact that when one says things like "blockchain" we're supposed to be astounded and impressed (and grant a patent) is deeply problematic. The USPTO certainly knows that these are abstract patents, but it grants these anyway. CryptoSlate (one among many sites that are cryptocurrencies-centric) reveals yet another cryptocurrencies patent; those are actually being granted, not just pursued (with an application). Bogus software patents are still being granted by the Office and there’s no sufficient public scrutiny.

There have been many articles like this one from Helen Partz about Bank of America’s “blockchain” patent applications and awards. Why don’t people point out that Section 101 would likely void these? Maybe they just don’t know about Section 101…

Here’s the more disturbing thing: Red Hat has become part of this problem. Cloud Pro and a few other publications mentioned that last week. Red Hat does not combat software patents (not anymore); Instead, Red Hat has become part of the problem and it is nowadays patenting “blockchain” stuff. It has been a long time since we saw Red Hat doing anything against software patents. Here’s one article among several on this subject:

Red Hat is reportedly considering using blockchain to track customer use of its cloud service in real time.

A patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office explains how the company would track transactions on its platforms to bill customers based on their usage. Because records in a blockchain can’t be changed, the data could be more accurate than using other methods.

“The examples record, in a blockchain, a billing rules transaction that identifies usage rules for one or more software instance types for a timeframe. Authorised transactions that identify software instances that have been authorised to execute during the timeframe are also recorded in the blockchain,” the filing explained.

How can Red Hat not see that it’s emboldening the USPTO to grant software patents?

Harish Pillay from Red Hat told me: “You are completely missing the point. It is a defensive patent needed to be done because the USPTO is broken.”

I responded with: “Who would that supposedly defend against and how?”

He never replied. So I assume he realised that this was going nowhere; not only do these Red Hat patents pose a considerable risk in case of a takeover (which is likely in the distant future); they also don’t counter-balance anything, certainly not when trolls confront Red Hat (which isn’t so unusual).

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