Square Joins Crypto Patent Anti-Lawsuit Agreement

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In Brief
  • This is the mobile payment company's latest effort in boosting the growth of digital currencies.

  • The goal is to avoid patent lawsuits in developing new crypto-centric technology.

  • Square founder Jack Dorsey continues to make bullish moves in the crypto industry.

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Mobile payment services giant Square has signed on as the newest addition to the Cryptocurrency Non-Aggression Pact for potential patent lawsuits. 

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The new pact is a collective of tech companies in a license-sharing platform, which aims for a reduction of patent lawsuits. Square also joined the Open Invention Network, through which members pledge open access to patents for open source technology. 

This is the latest of similar moves from the mobile payments giant. Last year the company formed the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance. It has similar intentions, as members pledge no lawsuits over crypto-related patents. It also includes a patent library accessible to all. 

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According to Max Sills, general manager of the cryptocurrency alliance and Square counsel member, this is a pivotal time for developments in the industry. “We’re in just such a rapid time of growth, so many amazing things are happening without patents. We want to avoid long-drawn-out legal battles.”

The agreement includes technologies like Linux kernel and Apache Hadoop. 

Keith Bergelt is the CEO at Open Invention Network and commented on the premise,

“When it has to deal with core functionality, you shouldn’t sue each other. The idea is you build your differentiation around the core. This won’t impair anyone from building a business, just protect them from being sued on what’s fundamentally open.”

Founded over 15 years ago, it has major members such as Sony Corp., Microsoft Corp., as well as Google and Oracle Corp. The network itself has more than 1,000 patents to which members have access.

Square boosts crypto industry participation 

Over the past year, Square’s stance on crypto moved increasingly-bullish. Early in the year it purchased large volumes of bitcoin, one of which equaled $170 million. 

As a behemoth in the more traditional digital finance space, Square hopes its actions toward a lawsuit-free industry in regards to essential technologies are an example to others. Especially as large corporations like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs obtain more of them. 

“I don’t think anyone’s concerned about Bank of America becoming a litigator; people recognize Bank of America is using patents in a defensive manner,” said Bergelt. “But it’s a bit of a Wild West with the newly minted companies.”

In addition Square announced its own bitcoin hardware wallet. This too is an effort from the company for more mainstream usage of crypto. As the space continues its expansion with DeFi and NFTs, the footprint of financial giants like Square will likely keep increasing. 

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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