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John MMulcahy and Yanbin Xu consider the difficulties in procuringand enforcing patents on blockchain technologies
John M Mulcahy and Yanbin Xu, Finnegan
Over the past several years, we have seendramatic growth in patent applications for distributed ledger technologies suchas
blockchain. Most famously implemented by Bitcoin, these technologies arepenetrating more and more sectors beyond fintech,
including healthcare,autonomous transportation, supply chain management, and even IP enforcement.However, although more and
more entities in more and more sectors are seekingpatents for blockchain technologies, the blockchain patent “battleground”
thathas repeatedly been forecast has not yet materialised. This is largely becauseblockchain patent applications do not always
result in readily enforceablepatents and, even compared with other computer-implemented technologies,detecting, and proving
infringement of blockchain patents is relativelydifficult. Moreover, even when infringement is detected and provable, thefundamentally
“distributed” nature of the technology often makes ituneconomical to bring suit.
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