Chinese companies and government organizations registered a staggering 7,600 blockchain-related patent applications between 2009 and 2018, with e-commerce giant Alibaba alone registering 512 patents, according to Japanese researchers.
Nikkei reports that, per Japanese research company Astamuse, Chinese parties’ patent applications accounted for 60% of the 2009-2018 total.
South Korea placed second in the same time period, with some 1,150 patents registered. Japanese firms and agencies filed fewer than 380 applications.
Lee Jong-cheol, a blockchain business consultant based in Seoul, told Cryptonews.com,
“Isn’t it ironic that two countries with such strict blockchain and cryptocurrency regulations – South Korea and China – appear to be leading the way with blockchain research? I wonder what Seoul and Beijing make of all this. Perhaps they see it as a validation of their policies?”
However, European and American companies are not altogether out of the blockchain tech race – the same media outlet reports that UK-based firm nChain, affiliated with one of the main backers of Bitcoin SV, Craig Wright, has registered 468 patents, with America’s IBM filing 248 applications.
Quoting patent lawyers, the media outlet also states that certain patent applications could end up blocking progress for certain firms, throwing up legal obstacles. Companies may also see registering blockchain patents as a business opportunity – and would seek to force companies to pay royalties for adopting solutions that make use of patented tech innovations.
Also as reported, China’s President Xi Jinping urged to accelerate the development of blockchain technology in China due to its importance "in the new round of technological innovation and industrial transformation" of the country.