U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has joined the cryptocurrency patent alliance established by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey headed financial services company Square, Inc. as a founding board member.
The Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance, or COPA, was established in September to enable open access to patents covering foundational technologies in the cryptocurrency sector. This was seen to be necessary for the crypto community to grow, freely innovate, and build new and better products.
Coinbase will join Square to carry COPA’s mission forward, educate the community and drive membership, and establish and administer COPA’s policies.
COPA seeks to democratize patents for everyone, empowering even small companies with tools and leverage to defend themselves. There is an invitation for all in the crypto community to join the alliance to address patent lockup concerns.
COPA is a non-profit community of like-minded people and companies formed to encourage the adoption and advancement of cryptocurrency technologies and to remove patents as a barrier to growth and innovation.
COPA employs a dual approach by asking its members to pledge never to use their crypto patents against anyone, except for defensive reasons, effectively making these patents freely available for all to use.
A shared patent library will be created by COPA where members pool all of their crypto patents together to form a collective shield of patents, allowing members to use each others’ patents to deter and defend against patent aggressors and trolls.
Since establishing COPA, 18 companies have joined it and taken the pledge. Apart from Square and Coinbase, other members include SatoshiLabs, Kraken, Blockstream, Transparent Systems, Protocol Labs, Blockstack, Foundation Devices, ARK.io, Blockchain Commons, Carnes Validadas, Request Network, Horizontal Systems, VerifyChain, Cloudeya Ltd., Mercury Cash, and Bithyve.
As more members join and declare that they will not offensively assert their patents against others, the overall incidence and threat of patent litigation will come down.
Patents are generally used for offensive and misguided purposes and threaten the growth and adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies. The “patent lockup” of foundational cryptocurrency technologies by a select few will also stifle innovation and deter mass-adoption.
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