Alibaba is the world’s leading enterprise for the number of patents published for blockchain technology, with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) in third place, according to a report by IPRdaily, a Chinese site dedicated to IP news, and incoPat, an innovation research indexing center. The report (in Chinese) shows Alibaba leaping to pole position for the number of patents publicly published globally in 2017 across all three patent types (invention, design, and utility). Out of the top 100 companies 49 were Chinese, 23 from the US (see below for table of top 100 rankings).
Using the number of patents published is not necessarily an indicator of quality, usefulness or real-world application. However, the sheer speed of work of some of the companies listed is startling.
Eighth on the list is another institute under the PBoC. The China Banknote Printing & Minting Corporation set up a blockchain research institute in Hangzhou last September, according to Yicai Global, suggesting they were very proficient given they published 22 patents by the end of the year. Combining both the PBoC institutes would put China’s central bank at the top with 55 patents.
Japan and the UK with five and two companies respectively are the only other countries besides China and the US to have more than one company with blockchain patents in the world’s top 100 rankings. Twelve other countries including Russia, Ireland, Spain, and Australia each have one top 100 company, although some such as Spain and Australia have maintained a place in the top 100 without publishing any new patents in 2017.