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Will Blockchain Applications Follow Crypto Currency Prices Off a Cliff

by: David Nickelson, Director of Research

We have twice written about blockchain in the patent world, with our President Tom Hochstatter first taking a look at potential uses of blockchain in ‘We’re Not Blockchain Experts But’ and later in COO Chris Mulkey’s ‘Blockchain + X = Patent? A New Math.’

In 2017 and 2018 Blockchain was all the rage with closely associated crypto currencies garnering massive amounts of media and investor attention. At their peak, such currencies had a total market cap of nearly $800 billion US dollars, a number that has since plummeted to around $120 billion as of this writing.

Has the drop led to a corresponding fall in patent filings? We will know more starting at the end of 2019 when new/original filings from mid-2018 start to publish. As the chart below indicates, new filings of US patent applications (based on US priority date) with the use of ‘blockchain’ in the claims skyrocketed from less than 100 in 2013 and 2014 to over 400 in 2016 and 2017. As of today, due to the 18 month publication window, we are unable to conclude whether filings dropped off as prices crashed in 2018.

Blockchain Patent Filing Trend

We will continue to watch this market, but as always with patent data, we are much better trend spotters 18 months after the fact. This de facto delay makes actionable intelligence on filing trends more of retrospective intelligence rather than real-time intelligence.

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