The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published on Thursday a series of patent applications, some of which were related to distributed ledger technology (DLT), also called blockchain. Among the applicants, we noticed companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Northern Trust Corporation, British Telecommunications, and JPMorgan.
The US tech giant founded by billionaire Bill Gates filed applications for three interrelated patents, called “establishment of consortium blockchain network,” “consortium blockchain network with verified blockchain and consensus protocols,” and “transaction processing for consortium blockchain network.” All the applications were filed last year on June 29.
The inventions aim to secure the way companies engage in blockchain consortiums. According to the patent description, when the first blockchain node is endorsed, consortium founders can authorize a pre-determined type of blockchain or other protocol code. Also, they can define a pre-determined membership list that is held in a so-called trusted execution environment (TEE) of the first node.
“A determination may be made as to whether the membership lists and pre-determined blockchain or other security protocol code to be authorized from the proposed members match. If so, TEE attestation may be used to verify that nodes associated with prospective members of the consortium store the pre-determined type of blockchain or other security protocol code to be authorized,” the description reads.
British Telecommunication PLC (BT), the largest provider of mobile, broadband, and fixed-line services in the UK, filed three blockchain-related applications. The inventions are titled “controlled resource provisioning in distributed computing environments,” “expendable access control,” and “access control.” All of the applications were filed on July 20, 2016.
The access control patents proposed by BT aim to solve several computer access control challenges. According to the UK telecom giant, access control for computing resources is indispensable where resources are restricted. The restrictions may be required to manage load or contention for resources or secure sensitive resources. Thus, different consumers may get different access control permissions for a specific resource, and BT wants to leverage blockchain to simplify and secure this process.
IBM is always present whenever the USPTO releases its blockchain-related application. The US tech giant filed on February 9, 2017, an application for the patent called “managing a database management system using a blockchain database.”
JPMorgan, the largest bank in the US, filed on April 2 of this year an application for its invention titled “method and system for implementing an automation software testing and packaging framework with entitlements.” The method involves the use of blockchain with Proof of Entitlement (PoE) consensus for software testing and packaging.
Chicago-based financial services company Northern Trust Corporation filed on December 18, 2017, an application for a blockchain-related patent called “system and methods for issuing and tracking digital tokens within distributed network nodes.” The invention proposes a system to track payment obligations on blockchain. According to the description, users can generate digital payment tokens backed by payment obligations. Then, they can update the tokens when the payment obligations are fulfilled.
Northern Trust is one of the largest banks in the US and one of the oldest as well. It is part of the S&P 500 index and is listed on NASDAQ stock exchange.