Frequently asked questions

I am an inventor. R + D is extremely expensive for innovators, expecting free tech discourages innovation. Isn't this abusive?

We are going after abusive patents that are filed by individuals who are not the true inventor or for which there is prior art. We are exercising the right to object to these abusive patents by using the legal provisions in the system. Our work may even protect inventors like you patents from attack by an abusive actor who might get an overlapping patent on your work. We are fighting patent abusers. There is nothing abusive in our actions. We are defenders of liberty. Finally, we are convinced and can cite many use cases to back up our belief, that innovation is fostered and encouraged by free and open technology. The entire open source software movement has quite clearly proven this.

What is the difference between OCA and COPA?

We at OpenCryptoAlliance are focused on preventing abusive patents from being granted. We aim to stop or invalidate abusive patents on technology by exposing that they never should be granted in the first place. COPA is a complimentary initiative and a great one at that. COPA protects its members as they all vow not to asset their patents against each other.

Why are you doing this?

We want to keep open technology open. Patent examiners often do not have adequate time or resources to thoroughly examine patents. As a result, many overly broad patents are improperly granted to subject matter that is not innovative. These patents can be asserted against true innovators who use the "patented" technology as a building block.

Aren't other people doing this already?

We are a unique player. The Open Crypto Alliance is a part of a “tapestry” of community efforts to address possible negative effects of patent assertion. * LOT Network protects its members from "patent assertion entities" who obtain patents from other LOT Members; * The Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance ensures that members do not sue one another; and * Open Source Software licenses allow the community to develop and use software without violating the copyright of others Each of these community initiatives addresses a problem of concern. However, they do not address actors who will assert overly broad patents. Also, such actors are not likely to join any community agreement. The Open Crypto Alliance directly addresses the problem by challenging overly broad patents that are owned by parties who are likely to assert the patents in a manner that hinders innovation. A successful challenge will invalidate the patent, preventing assertion of the patent.

Are people really planning to use patents to troll the cyrpto industry?

As an example of a party amassing a large number of patents, nChain has filed over 800 patents internationally on various aspects of blockchain and crypto technology (see, e.g., nChain/Wright US patents and pending US patent applications). Many of those are now in a phase where they have been published and can be opposed before they can be asserted against blockchain innovators. Craig Wright, nChain's founder, has expressly said that he intends to control the industry. Watch it here (skip to 2:30 if the video starts at the beginning)