Square, the leading US-based financial services company, is establishing a consortium to fight patent trolling and ensure open access to technology in the crypto sector.
It has been reported that the ‘Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance’ (COPA) seeks to democratize access to innovative technologies in the crypto sector, asserting that “open access to patents covering foundational cryptocurrency technologies is necessary for the community to grow, freely innovate, and build new and better products.”
COPA is open for anyone to join and aims to furnish members with an “open patent” strategy to better protect and foster innovation in the space. It asks that members pledge to never use their own crypto technology patents against anyone except for defensive purposes, and that they pool all of their patents together to create a “shared patent library.”
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter tweeted:
“Square is putting all of our crypto patents into a new non-profit org we’re calling the Crypto Open Patent Alliance, which will maintain a shared patent library to help the crypto community defend against patent aggressors and trolls. Join us!”
COPA will be governed by a board of nine members – three members from the crypto and open source community who work towards making crypto better and available for everyone; three members from the founding companies; and three members from the remaining membership. They will appoint board members based on consultation with the community and the founding members.
However, members of the alliance will agree to pool crypto and blockchain patents into COPA’s library by ensuring open access to technologies developed by participating firms. The commitment to open-source development and technologies like Bitcoin seems to be the driving force behind COPA as well.
The alliance website said:
“Cryptocurrency technology and its adoption is still at a nascent stage. We believe that cryptocurrency’s success depends on the community coming together to build and develop upon existing technologies to innovate, which is not possible when parties tie up foundational technology in patents and litigation.”
The COPA alliance hopes to “transform the way patents are viewed and used in the crypto world,” emphasizing the opportunity for patents to be employed to advance innovation in the sector, rather than to hinder the industry’s development.
A few months before enabling bitcoin investing, Square launched its crypto-focused business division, Square Crypto, which has operated with a decidedly open-source mindset. The interested parties can join COPA, regardless of whether they have patents or not, by signing the COPA Membership Agreement.