Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index — Q4 2015
The number of granted virtual currency patents was unchanged and the number of published virtual currency patent applications increased by 25%.
The number of registered virtual currency trademarks decreased by 46% while the number of new virtual currency trademarks applications increased by 43%.
Overall the Virtual Currency Intellectual Property Index increased 6% from the previous quarter and increased 25% from the previous year.
As we use it here, “virtual currencies” include digital currencies, cryptocurrencies and other innovative electronic currencies. Virtual currencies may include 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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