Major areas of technology, such as healthcare, have experienced inordinately high numbers of patent grants over the past decade, but according to the latest research many more are published and waiting to issue in specific areas of blockchain.
Two of three areas noted by DexPatent, an analytics firm, Electronic Health Records and Personalized Medicine, have more patents published worldwide and presumably waiting to issue than have been thus far been granted. This could mean that inventions in these areas will be meaningful or could be used in potential litigation.
For Electronic Health Records, 1,481 patents have been issued globally and 1,927, approximately 30% more than that total, have been published and are likely to be issued in the coming two years. In Personalized Medicines, it is 371 granted to 451 published and waiting to complete the application process, a 22% increase. Personalized Medicine shows great promise for treating a host of complex diseases, including cancer.
‘Why are businesses rushing to patent software inventions in new areas of blockchain when these IP rights are likely to be found invalid and currently are virtually impossible to litigate in the U.S. and other nations?’
Medical Fraud Detection is not quite so promising for new patents, still with a hearty 371 published and in the queue, despite 456 having already been granted.
Notably, the vast majority of patents in these healthcare fields are software-related. In the U.S. and other nations software patents are effectively non-existent, with the Alice case making them much less meaningful in the U.S. and 101 issues under the U.S. code still unclear about what is in fact patentable.
Why are businesses rushing to patent software inventions in new areas of blockchain when these IP rights are likely to be found invalid and currently are virtually impossible to litigate in the U.S. and other nations?
It may have to do with the presumed leverage that will be afforded many of the patent owning companies in healthcare and blockchain. The filings may also be in anticipation of greater support for software in at least some IP systems. According to a summary report recently issued by the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding, ‘To Patent or Not to Patent? Understanding the Open-Source Option for Businesses,’ software now comprises anywhere from about a one-quarter to as many as two-thirds of patents granted.
Unreliable as these patents may be, they could still facilitate relationships with clients, acquirers and capital providers who are positioning for industry leadership, and play a role in establishing industry standards.
Image source: dexpatents.com