Arent Fox Obtains a Patent for Verifying Data Integrity Using a Blockchain Network
Continuing advances in storage technology permit significant amounts of digital data to be stored cheaply and efficiently. However, often data must be stored for years or even decades. For example, certain US federal and state laws require that all medical institutions store medical information on their patients during their lifetime or longer. Moreover, similar requirements apply to banking and financial institutions. Cloud data storage services have become a popular solution for securely, efficiently and inexpensively storing large volumes of data over long periods of time while ensuring its integrity and authenticity. However, procedures for checking integrity and authenticity of stored data are usually very expensive, inefficient and time-consuming. The rise of blockchain technology presents new solutions to this problem.
US Patent No. 10,114,980 describes the use of distributed blockchain network to verify the authenticity of data. Specifically, files from cloud storage are hashed and then only the hashes are transmitted to a blockchain network, where new blocks containing received hashes are added to the blockchain. The hashes stored in the blockchain can be used for verification of the authenticity of the original data files. If a data file is modified, operations performed on that file are also hashed and added as blocks to the blockchain network. Thus, the records of all data files in the cloud storage and all modifications made to those files are stored in the blockchain network, which can be efficiently used to verify the authenticity of data in the cloud storage, protect data from accidental or intentional modification, and provide a proof o authenticity of the stored records for future audit.
One of the challenges of prosecuting patents directed to systems and methods implemented on decentralized and distributed networks is to make sure that all steps of the method claims are performed by a single entity in order to establish a direct infringement during a lawsuit. Thus, the claiming strategy employed by Arent Fox in this case highlights the different way patent practitioners must think when claiming distributed activity involving in a cloud data storage and blockchain network in patent applications before the US Patent and Trademark Office.
While blockchain is rather nascent in the patent arena, Arent Fox leads the way in obtaining valuable patents for clients early and using innovative application drafting and claiming strategies that are being recognized and rewarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Arent Fox is a market leader in helping clients to navigate the business and legal issues surrounding blockchain technology, particularly in the software industry.