nChain tops blockchain patent list despite a drop in IP activity overall

Research and development firm nChain filed the most patent applications relating to blockchain technology in Q4 2023. A recently published report from GlobalData noted this was despite a marked decline in blockchain-related patents overall in the same period—1,523 in Q4 compared to 2,955 in the previous quarter.

The report is titled “Technology: Patents Trends Q4 2023” and “offers comprehensive insights into patenting trends, major players’ strategies, and geographical focus in the sector over the last three years.”

nChain filed 77 blockchain-related patent applications from October to December last year and 114 in Q3. That figure still puts the company in GlobalData’s top spot and way ahead of second-placer Bank of America with 39 filings. In third and fourth places were International Business Machines (better known as IBM) with 34, and Shenzhen-based Tencent with 32.

Source: GlobalData report published on

In other report findings, the United States led the rest of the world in blockchain IP applications with 58% of the overall technology industry share. Next was China with 8%, and the United Kingdom with 2% (nChain most likely making up the lion’s share of the U.K. total).

Why the mainstream is starting to pay attention to nChain

According to its website, nChain has over 3,900 patents and applications in its portfolio, and over 1,090 of those have been officially granted. The company operates a licensing program for blockchain project developers, offering over 480 licenses covering blockchain and non-blockchain technologies.

In an effort to make its intellectual property library more accessible, nChain launched its “Knowledge Base” in early 2023. This enables prospective blockchain developers to search for relevant IP using possible use cases and keywords, patents grouped by their “families,” and human-readable descriptions.

An independent report from LexisNexis in March 2022 named nChain among its Global Top 100 innovators. That report used information from the Patent Asset Index, which assesses patent portfolios based on their size and the individual quality of patent families they contain.

Business/financial publication Forbes also covered nChain’s IP achievements in a story titled “Satoshi or Not, Here He Comes.” The article noted that patents granted to the company and its former Chief Scientist, Dr. Craig Wright, covered a vast array of blockchain-related activities and would impact the industry regardless of online arguments over Wright’s original invention of Bitcoin.

Technology industry continues to pretend nChain, BSV, don’t exist

As Forbes pointed out, the sheer size and value of nChain’s patent library will make it impossible to ignore as blockchain technology gains wider adoption. Moreover, it will make efforts to omit BSV tactically and its projects to appear even more petty and illogical than they do now. In one recent incident, COPA member Block was forced by an examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to cite a prior Wright-owned patent (titled “Registry and Automated Management Method for Blockchain-Enforced Smart Contracts”) in its own application for one covering smart contract conditions.

Watch: nChain Blockchain Immersion Program extends expertise to key Philippines agencies 

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.