Top tech conglomerates Alibaba Group and IBM has made it to the top spot of the list which aims at ranking global institutions according to the number of blockchain-related patents filed till now. This was published by iPR Daily on the 31st of August.
The media outlets which specializes in intellectual property states that as of August 10, its financial data comprises of parents and all subsidiary companies across China, America, South Korea, Japan, EU and also consulted the expertise of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) to arrive at these statistics.
The Blockchain Patent Arms Race
According to the research made by Thomas Reuters, it can be deduced that about 56 percent of all 406 blockchain patent filed globally in 2017 was from China, the United States was second on his research with about 22 percent. With the rate at which blockchain patent filling is going with a drastic increase from 134 in 2016 to about 406 in 2017, it is obvious that the data showing the current adoption in the intellectual property right race is in favor of China as the country currently takes the lead.
The review conducted by Nikkei Asian Review states that; out of the 406 blockchain patents filed in 2017, Alibaba singularly has about 43 up its sleeves including other tech institutions such as Tencent and Baidu which also dominates the list of blockchain patent owners around the world. The WIPO data has updated the statistics provided by the Nikkei Asian Review, stating that in the total number of blockchain patent filed in 2017, about 225 was from China compared to that of the United States which is 91 and 13 from Australia.
IBM and Alibaba on the Top Spot
China’s Alibaba has reportedly filed about 90 blockchain related patent applications at the time the review was conducted, while its United States counterpart, IBM, has been able to register about 89 block-related patents till date. Alibaba toping this list must have been owing to the fact that its founder, Jack Ma is optimistic and advocates for the blockchain technology although he remains uncertain about virtual currency.
On the other side, the United States Tech giant IBM has been steadily expanding its involvement in the use of blockchain technology across various fields. The tech company recently signed a five-year contract with the Australian government which is estimated at $740 million to use blockchain and other ingenious technology such as Artificial Intelligence to advance data security to enhance automation in various government departments with defense and home affairs included.
On the third spot is MasterCard, the firm has reportedly filed about 80 blockchain-related patent, the Bank of America (BOA) is closely behind MasterCard, as it has filed up to a total of 53. The fifth on the list is the reserve bank of China, People’s Bank of China (PBoC), with about 44 patent applications to its name, the patents filed by the reserve bank has been hinged upon the project of Central bank digital currency embarked upon by the bank.
China: Anti-crypto, Pro-Blockchain
It is quite oxymoronic how the Chinese government has proven to be pro-blockchain but at the same time imposing a stringent rule on the cryptocurrency sector which has intensified in these few weeks. China is known to have proper documentation for regulatory hostility to cryptocurrency, most especially the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) activities by imposing an absolute ban against virtual currency trading and ICOs fundraising this year.
However, the Chinese government has shown interest in the blockchain technology which is the bedrock of digital currency. The President of China Xi Jinping has described blockchain technology as one of the newly invented technologies with unending potentials with the capacity that is; “substantially reshaping the global economic structure.”
The Taiwan-based Intellectual Property Expert and Eiger Law partner John Eastwood has explained that the Chinese government’s eagerness to earn a top position in the unannounced IP battle amongst technologically advanced countries in the world is to attract blockchain experts amongst other reasons. He stated that;
“Blockchain is a new technological landscape where it could be very profitable for Chinese companies to grab significant territory in their patent claim language. Holding several patents helps to give an aura of legitimacy that helps many companies in the blockchain field to attract investors or acquirers.”
The position held by the two tech giants is one which is well deserved as the companies’ place in blockchain advancement around the world cannot be trivialized as they have immensely contributed to its adoption in various sectors such as, finance, agriculture, data security, healthcare, immigration, and governance just to mention but few. It should also be noted that these companies also proceeded to the level of filing patents to secure their right over their invention.