IBM was awarded six patents by the USPTO, an agency in the US Department of Commerce, for blockchain-related inventions.
IBM is actively working on innovations in the distributed ledger technology (DLT). In the span of a week, the US tech giant was awarded six blockchain-related patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Two of the patents were awarded on Thursday, while four patent applications were approved last week.
Here is a brief description of each patent:
1. System, method, and computer program product for privacy-preserving transaction validation mechanisms for smart contracts that are included in a ledger – granted on July 12, the patent application was initially filed on March 5, 2018. The invention relates to blockchain transactions. The description says that the product might be able to deal with multiple forms of transactions, validate them, ensure the ability to handle confidential transactions, control access to transactions, provide means to audit them and ensure accountability of the validating entities involved.
2. Private blockchain transaction management and termination – the application for the other blockchain-related patent awarded today was filed on January 12, 2017. The invention is about a private blockchain system that can be more efficient than a public and global blockchain, which, according to IBM, is too slow, large, and expensive.
3. Limiting blockchain size to optimize performance – last week, IBM was awarded four blockchain-related patents, one of which refers to a system that can boost the DLT’s performance. The problem with most of the traditional blockchain systems is that they record every aspect of a transaction, thus becoming very large in memory size. This is especially challenging in an Internet of Things (IoT) network, which comprises a variety of machines and devices that interact together. IBM’s solution is to cut the size of the entire blockchain by compressing the blocks, thus speeding up processes.
4. Tracking assets with a blockchain – the patent application was filed on January 5, 2017. The invention discusses the use of the distributed ledger technology for various types of assets rather than for financial transactions. As the description reads:
“the blockchain may be used to establish ownership, provenance, a historical record of status, state, location changes, etc. In operation, tracked assets may include a serial number used to uniquely identify each specific item and that serial number may naturally be a key identifier used in the ledger.”
5. Blockchain for program code credit and programmer contribution in a collective – IBM filed the application for this patent on January 5, 2017. The invention proposes to leverage blockchain to help programmers who work in a team get fair treatment and reward based on the accurate assessment of their contribution. Currently, programmers who are collaborating with other parties to code a complex software product cannot enjoy a fair method to determine their contribution in public or even private space. A blockchain-based system could help them track the volume of work and contribution with high precision, being an accurate tool for determining the reward and solve dispute resolutions.
6.Tracking items used for providing medical services – the US tech company applied for this patent on January 4, 2017. According to the patent, which was granted last week, a blockchain system may be used for tracking physical items used by doctors in surgical procedures and other medical operations. The proper management of medical items is extremely important for patient safety, which is why such a system would be helpful to improve the medical service in general.