World’s Oldest Pharmaceutical Merck Wins New AI & Blockchain Patent



Last Updated: February 1, 2019 at 8:31 AM EST
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The world’s biggest and oldest pharmaceutical firm, Merck, has received a blockchain patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), setting the pace for other industrial and technological firms alike.

Leading the Way

Merck, which is a subsidiary of its parent company Merck & Co. in Germany, is most famously known for pioneering hundreds of drug approval, and new methods of treatment. However, the company is showing it is prepared to evolve, as it sees technology making evolutional improvements in not only expected sectors like finance but also the health sector as well.

The firm’s technological and research arm concerned with making cutting edge advancements in the health and pharmaceutical space has now made another significant milestone after pioneering its own blockchain-based solution. Merck’s Innovation Center’s solution leverages the immutability attributes of blockchain and machine learning to build a system that verifies the authenticity of unique physical objects. Employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) with distributed ledger technology facilitates a new method capable of linking physical objects to a blockchain through a machine-learning optimized identification of its ‘fingerprint.’

The official announcement from the firm’s website read:

“Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted US Patent No. 10,193,695 to the Company. The patent concerns the formation of “crypto-objects” – a novel security technique that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology.”

Exceeding the Pharmaceutical World

Merck’s new patent technology would not be limited only to the pharmaceutical or health sectors, and proves itself a solution to current dilemmas faced by other manufacturing industries.

Implementation of Merck’s blockchain-based solution leverages DLT technology to reduce fraud and circulation of fake pharmaceutical products. The technological solution while serving Merck provides an answer for other manufacturing companies too.

The unique identifier of a physical object which could be a range of possibilities such as barcodes, chemical signatures, mass spectrometry, DNA and image patterns, facilitates the integration of an object into an immutable blockchain database. The firm’s public release cited a recent research by the World Health Organization (WHO) which revealed that more than 50 percent of drugs purchased on illegal websites are fake. The new patent technology is poised to ending this, and fostering accountability.

Merck’s Chief Strategy Officer, Isabel De Paoli acknowledged that the new technology could serve as an armory for other industries which are particular on product identity too. She said of the new patent:

“This is particularly relevant for industries that rely on reliable product identity, such as safety-critical supply chains in the pharmaceutical or food industries.”