Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index — Q1 2016
The number of granted virtual currency patents decreased 35% and the number of published virtual currency patent applications decreased by 46%.
The number of registered virtual currency trademarks increased by 31% while the number of new virtual currency trademarks applications decreased by 30%.
Overall the Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index decreased 26% from the previous quarter and decreased 14% from the previous year. This may indicate that the virtual currency industry has begun a contraction.
As we use it here, “virtual currencies” include digital currencies, cryptocurrencies and other innovative electronic currencies, such as Bitcoin, Darkcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Mastercoin, Namecoin, NXT, Peercoin, Ripple, etc.
The Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index tracks patent applications and patents that have been published or granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Although most applications are published, a small percentage (about 7% nation wide) are not published for various reasons. Patent applications are generally published 18 months after the first priority date of the application. Published applications have not necessarily been examined and some applications will be abandoned after publication. Once an application is examined and approved and all fees and formalities have been satisfied, the Patent Office grants a patent. We attempt to limit the Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index to patents and patent applications that are substantially related to virtual currencies. Patent records that make only a passing reference to a virtual currency are generally not included.
The Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index also tracks trademarks applications that have been filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Once a trademark application has been examined and approved by the Trademark Office and all requirements have been satisfied, it becomes a registered trademark.
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