Interesting account in Businessweek about how banks are patenting their processes and educating the patent office on how banks work so they don’t get clobbered by fintech firms taking out patents on business processes that have been routine for decades.
“There is so much innovation in finance right now that if you want to stay ahead and maintain an edge, you have to patent it,” says Linda Coven, a banking and payments analyst at research firm Aite Group.
I think the first patent on a financial business process was Merrill Lynch which got a patent on sweeping odd funds into a single account at the end of the day. Now banks have to fend of both fintechs and patent trolls.
“Bank of America has won the most patents among U.S. banks in recent years, with an active portfolio of more than 3,000. These include patents covering blockchains, a wearable financial indicator such as a watch, and automated teller machines that can be operated by a smartphone. MasterCard applied for 500 last year, 10 times the number in 2010, according to Colm Dobbyn, head of the company’s patent program.