Blockchain technology—built using a combination of hardware, software, and cryptography—is reshaping how global transactions are processed, removing friction between the transacting parties and often eliminating the need for intermediation. Industries ranging from banking to healthcare to utilities are finding a variety of use cases for implementing blockchain technology, including financial transaction processing, supply chain management, digital identity, credentialing healthcare professionals, and much more. Wintergreen Research estimates that the current market for blockchain-related products and services is $700 million, and is projected to exceed $60 billion annually in 2024.
Financial technology (Fintech) includes certain use cases of blockchain technology (such as cryptocurrencies), but encompasses much more than blockchain-based solutions, such as mobile banking, investing services, “smart” card technology, secure payments, and much more. Like blockchain, the confluence of hardware, software, and digital security technologies underlie much of the advances being made in the Fintech industry.
Sterne Kessler’s Blockchain and Fintech team has a deep understanding of the foundational technologies that underlie blockchain and fintech, and has extensive experience navigating the complex patent and intellectual property landscape related to these technologies. Sterne Kessler’s team helps innovators in these emerging technologies overcome challenges associated with protecting the intellectual property associated with their inventions and gaining meaningful freedom-to-operate as they grow their businesses.
In the post-Alice environment, many innovators in the blockchain and fintech sectors have come to believe that their inventions are not eligible for patent (or other IP) protection. That is decidedly not true. Software and algorithm driven technical innovation can be protected and innovators can enjoy freedom-to-operate as they build a business on that innovation. Sterne Kessler has been a pioneer in software and business method patents – we understand what it takes to protect blockchain and fintech innovations.
Our Blockchain and Fintech team focuses on overcoming challenges associated with subject matter eligibility under Section 101 and on the optimal use of intellectual property to increase shareholder value. We apply an integrated approach to IP — working collaboratively to meet new challenges and providing the best advice and strategic counsel.
In addition, we help innovative companies develop and protect their brand identities. That includes traditional trademark prosecution, but extends to marketing and advertising as well. For many organizations in the blockchain and fintech sectors, brand licensing, co-branding, and other marketing relationships are critical to growing shareholder value – our team is deeply experienced in helping with brand development and protection.
Finally, when disputes arise around intellectual property (patents, trademarks, trade secrets, etc.), Sterne Kessler brings a uniquely integrated and talented team to the table. Our trial and appeal team has the experience to help blockchain and fintech companies win – in district court, at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and at the Federal Circuit.