Jack Dorsey’s financial services company Square has established a non-profit organization called Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA).
Working independently from Square, the entity aims to ensure open access to blockchain technology in the digital asset sector and fight patent trolls.
Square Creates COPA
According to Square’s announcement, COPA aims to stop companies within the cryptocurrency ecosystem from “locking up” valuable and useful technologies in patents. The company outlined that this growing concern of what it calls “patent lockup” could “stifle innovation and adoption from Bitcoin to the most obscure cryptocurrency.”
“COPA is an industry-wide innovation to the patent equivalent to an open-source community. Its approach includes a pledge that no member will ever assert their patents on foundational cryptocurrency technology.”
The non-profit will establish a shared patent “library,” enabling each member to use all patents available in it. By pooling the crypto-technology patents together, this forms a “collective shield of patents,” which will deter and defend all members against “patent aggressors.”
To ensure that the digital asset ecosystem remains free and open and that the technology is available for everyone, Square will lead by example by putting all of its cryptocurrency patents into the new non-profit, asserted company CEO Jack Dorsey.
COPA is open for everyone in the industry. However, future members need to follow Square’s example by making all their patents available in the shared library to all other participants.
They also need to “pledge never to use their crypto-technology patents against anyone,” except for the defensive reasons listed above.
COPA will operate independently from Square and will be governed by a board of nine members. Three members will come from the cryptocurrency and open-source community, three from the founding companies, and three from the “remaining membership.”
Growing Blockchain And Crypto Patents And Potential Issues
As CryptoPotato reported recently, the number of blockchain and cryptocurrency-related patents has surged in the past few years. The US leads the way, accounting for 39%, South Korea (21%), and China (19%) complete the top three countries.
Although Square believes that these increasing numbers hinder the industry’s development, there’s a more pressing issue COPA is trying to fight.
Some firms file for so-called “pre-emptive patents” for ideas that they have no plans to develop. However, by doing this, they block other companies from legally chasing the same idea, which ultimately leads to less innovation in the field.