Earlier in the week, we detailed JPMorgan's attempt to create their own "web cash" alternative to Bitcoin (and Sberbank's talk of doing the same). However, as M-Cam details, following the failure of the first 154 'claims', JPMorgan issued a further 20 claims - which were summarily rejected (making JPMorgan 0-175 for approved claims). As they note, The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)’s handling of applications like JPMorgan’s ‘984 application ("Bitcoin Alternative") highlights the need to fix a broken system - patent applications of existing inventions need to be finally rejected and not be resurrected as zombies (no matter how powerful the claimant).
“BITCOIN is booming.”...?
On August 5, 2013 JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPMorgan) filed an application for an electronic mobile payment system which has eerie similarities to the popular online currency Bitcoin. Unfortunately for JPMorgan, all of the claims, totaling 175 claims, as of October 18, 2013, for published US patent application 20130317984 (the ‘984 application) have been either cancelled or rejected.
Below is a view of JPMorgan’s ‘984 application.
After the initial 154 claims were abruptly cancelled, JPMorgan’s attorney submitted 20 additional claims which the examiner, Jagdish Patel, issued non?final rejections for all 20 of the new claims in October 2013. This makes JPMorgan 0?175 in terms of approved claims. The last 20 claims were rejected for non?patentability and indefiniteness under Title 35 United States Code (U.S.C.) Sections 101 and 112.
However, Mr. Patel might well have rejected the claims because of the ‘On Sale Bar’ rule under 35 U.S.C. Section 102(b), meaning that if the invention has been on sale for over a year then the invention is no longer patentable. Under the ‘On Sale Bar’ rule, the application could be invalid because it closely mirrors Bitcoin with features such as making free and anonymous electronic payments and Bitcoin has been in circulation since 2009.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)’s handling of applications like JPMorgan’s ‘984 application highlights the need to fix a broken system.
Patent applications of existing inventions need to be finally rejected and not be resurrected as zombies.
Part of the problem of a system in which one third of patents are seriously or fatally impaired is that companies are allowed to patent items that their competitors have already invented.
Obviously, large financial institutions want in on the online alternative currency action. But they would be well advised to pursue novel and non?obvious approaches that do not duplicate existing commercial options with respect to a virtual medium of exchange.
Full Patent Glossary here (PDF)