China’s Alibaba Holds the Largest Number of Blockchain Patents in the World

With new cases of blockchain use emerging almost every day around the world, we are yet to see how blockchain technology will be changing our daily life. While large corporations have been stepping efforts to build their blockchain IP portfolios.

Among them, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and its mobile payment platform Alipay jointly are the most active and prolific with the largest number of blockchain patents in the world.

The Hangzhou-based conglomerate had a total of 212 patents published involving the blockchain technology as of May 14, according to a report from the China Patent Protection Association. The world has more than 3,900 patent approvals in blockchain.

More than half of the patents the Alibaba group holds are outside China as the company is doubling down on future technology development beyond country borders.

New York-based International Business Machines (IBM) comes second in the global list with 136 blockchain patents published and South Korean crypto wallet firm Coinplug ranks third with 107. Another Chinese tech giant Tencent, with 42 such authorizations, has also made into the top ten patent holders.

Most of these large multinational companies are eyeing on different markets with patents filed in multiple countries. The United States is the most focused market, followed by Europe and China.

It is noteworthy that despite the fact that China is dominating in blockchain patent applications, the country (19%) actually comes third after the U.S. (39%) and Korea (21%) in the number of patents authorized.

Apart from Alibaba and Tencent, other Chinese companies like telecoms giant China Unicom, insurance giant Ping An, as well as blockchain dedicated startups Fuzamei and Yunphant have also made the list, although their activity paled in comparison to that of other entities.

Despite the outbreak of coronavirus in 2020, blockchain shows no signs of losing its appeal, with data showing that 1,257 patents have already been published in the first five months of the year.

The controversy around patent applications in a sector where open source projects seem to be the norm is likely to remain, but it doesn’t look like this will deter companies or individuals from continuing to safeguard their IP.

It is foreseeable that the overall number of authorized blockchain patents throughout the whole 2020 might surpass 2019’s activity if inventors keep filing patents at the same pace.

From the trend above, it is not difficult to see that the enthusiasm runs higher and development speed enhances in the field of blockchain innovation, research and development and patent layout over these years.

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