Square launches the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) in an effort to hinder and prevent patent hoarding – which according to Square, is ultimately killing mainstream crypto adoption and innovation.
COPA is a non-profit alliance organization that intends to pool crypto-based patents in order to keep them away from adverse hoarders, thus, promoting and preserving the crypto industry’s open-source nature. Those who want to join COPA must first pledge that they wouldn’t lock up their respective patents. Instead, they must make them available to other COPA members through a pooled library. Notably, already existing filed to preserve patents will be exempted, and all crypto businesses are eligible to join, with or without patents.
This library will then serve as COPA members’ distributed barrier from patent trolls who aim to lock up innovative patents and ideas for their own. Not to propel their businesses in the right direction, but just to hinder competitors from actually turning it into fruition. Square condemns this practice and has branded it as toxic behavior plaguing the crypto industry. The fact that crypto-based patent filings are seemingly doubling every year but only a sliver of it is actually used further emphasizes Square’s exposition regarding patent hoarding.
It is worth noting that COPA will be an entirely different entity to that of Square. It will have its own executives and board members. Square intends for COPA to grow and establish an even patent playing field, wherein no one is locking up bright and innovative ideas just for the sake of it.