Out of all blockchain patents filed around the world, China accounted for 49%, while the United States came second with 33%.
Among the top 100 patent-filing organizations, the PBOC dominated the list, with three of its branches snatching the top slots. Together, they submitted 68 patent applications related to the technology.
Patent applications for blockchain, whose uses span everything from the distribution of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to the tracking of Chinese chickens, trebled last year, while patents specific to cryptocurrencies — which are not included the blockchain patent category — rose 16 per cent to 602 in 2017.
“Companies are moving fast in order to protect their ideas in new areas of technological development — long before the technology actually goes to market,” said Alex Batteson, editor at Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law.
Batteson added that patents are an important tool for companies to attract investment. Patents on certain technology signals to investors that “a business owns and can capitalize on the intellectual property and will not face interference from other parties claiming ownership.”
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that they will create a standardization committee for blockchain technology on March 12th. The Investment Association of China (IAC) also launched the Global Blockchain Investment and Development Center (GBIDC) on March 15th to push for blockchain development in the country. According to the IAC, “We will vigorously promote R&D, application, promotion, investment and innovation of blockchains in China, [and] strengthen the integration and international cooperation of blockchain resources.”