back to article Cryptocurrency world must protect itself from 'low-quality patents' says Square lawyer as biz joins Open Invention Network

Square, which last year founded the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to defend cryptocurrency technologies against patent trolls, has now joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) to further bolster its legal defenses. Max Sills, counsel at Square and general manager at COPA, told The Register that the digital payment giant is …

  1. Def Silver badge

    The point of a patent is to incentivize people to do really good creative work.

    Umm... No.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      It was sort of the original idea

      The original idea was to give an inventor a state-protected monopoly for a time in return for publishing how their machine works.

      Otherwise they would have no protection from a competitor reverse-engineering their machine and taking their market away.

      It broke when the USPTO stopped doing their job and decided the courts should do it instead.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: It was sort of the original idea

        That's very different from incentivising people to do creative work.

        I know the original intent of the patent system, and in general it's a good idea.

        The problem today is the patent system hasn't kept up with the increased speed of technological progression and patent offices are understaffed and unable to cope with the sheer number of patents being registered.

        Patent lifetimes should be reduced according to the market in which they apply. Software patents, for example, should not have lifetimes of more than about five years maximum - if that. Pure discoveries (hello pharmaceutical industry) should not be patentable at all.

        You should also have to demonstrate a (partially) working prototype of any patent when registering OR produce evidence of tangible progress towards a prototype after a couple of years after registering. If you can't satisfy either of those your application should be rejected, or your patent prematurely expired. That won't prevent you from innovating (and as long as you don't release anything publicly you'll still be protected), but will prevent a lot of the pointless patent registrations from "ideas guys" and trolls.

        Selling a patent to a company or individual that is not actively using said patent for its own products and/or services should expire the patent.

  2. Cuddles Silver badge

    Whoever wins, we lose

    Crypto-nuts vs. patent trolls. What fun times we live in.

  3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    What we need

    Is the patent offices to do their jobs and block patents that are trying to patent prior art. Prior art is anything that has been publically disclosed anywhere whether on purpose or not, including papers, presentations, videos, other patents or patent applications (and applications are published by the patent offices 6 months after the applications are filed).

    I have to deal with IP issues as part of my job and it's amazing how many patents are of things that should have been rejected due to the prior art. We just file that all away in case the patent that came to our attention comes knocking on our door. I recently had a EU patent germain to our products cross my desk that was of something patented in 1979 and expired in the late '90's. Neither the "inventors" nor the EU patent office bothered to look that far back I guess. But the Korean patent office did, and bounced it as they should have.

  4. Snowy Silver badge

    Who is protecting the world

    from Cryptocurrency?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Who is protecting the world

      Weirdly it might be the patent trolls.

  5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    How do you sue "bitcoin"?

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