Several US companies, including Walmart, IBM, and MasterCard, received blockchain-related patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the US agency that issues patents to companies and investors, awarded several blockchain-related patents on Thursday. Some of the companies that saw their applications approved are IBM, JPMorgan, Walmart, Intel, and MasterCard among others.
Walmart was granted three blockchain-related patents on June 28, which comes on the heels of three that were awarded on June 14. At this time, the retail giant is focusing on the following systems and methods:
- Crowdsourced delivery based on a set of requirements – this system wants to help customers who shop online benefit from low cost or free delivery options through crowdsourced delivery. Blockchain technology will be used to store a list of certifications for delivery agents. The application was initially filed on December 26, 2017.
- Systems and methods for monitoring item distribution – this system revolves around a plurality of cameras tracking items within a distribution chain. Thus, whenever a customer reports problems with their purchased items, it will be easier to investigate where and when the issue took place. The system uses blockchain to store data. The application for this method was filed on December 18, 2017.
- Verifying the authenticity of computer readable information using a blockchain – this method aims to help internet users easily verify the authenticity of any downloadable information. As the patent description reads, “Many times, malicious software programs are disguised as desirable downloadable information, which infects end-user computers with viruses, trojan horses, ransomware, and other malicious software. Users mistakenly download the malicious software believing that the download is from a trusted source.”
The system will leverage blockchain to avoid such problems. The application for this patent was filed on December 13, 2017.
MasterCard and Others
MasterCard was granted two blockchain-related patents for its applications filed in December 2016. The two systems are titled “method and system for providing validated, auditable, and immutable inputs to a smart contract,” and “method and system for anonymous directed blockchain transaction.” The latter patent proposes a method to protect the ID details of entities that make transactions on blockchains. Under the current systems, businesses have to rely on third parties if they want to hide their practices from competitors, which pose some risks. MasterCard’s blockchain-based method will involve two hashes to achieve anonymity.
Intel has two patents for systems titled “assigning user identity awareness to a cryptographic key,” and “distributed secure boot.” Both systems use blockchain for different tasks. The applications were filed in December 2016.
Banking giant JPMorgan was granted a patent for its “systems and methods for privacy in distributed ledger transactions,” while tech company IBM received approval for its “incentive-based crowdvoting using a blockchain.”
IBM is one of the most active companies implementing and promoting blockchain, also referred to as distributed ledger technology (DLT). This week, the tech giant fully launched its IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan, which will help enterprises develop blockchain systems faster and easier. The Starter Plan was tested for three months by 2,000 developers, according to Jerry Cuomo, VP of blockchain technology at IBM.