I thought we would take a small break from the “How to do intellectual property PR” article series we have been sharing here, here and here.

As you know, we specialize in assisting defensive patent management organizations, in-house IP teams within corporations and IP law firms. It is not often that a new defensive patent management organization is born.

Beyond some of the “coin” and cryptocurrency-related media this didn’t any attention, but it should.

Square, the fast-growing multi-platform payments company has taken the lead in launching COPA – the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance. COPA was formed to ensure that innovation in core cryptocurrency technology is not hindered by patent aggressors. To join the COPA community, participants must pledge to make their patents freely available, via a cross-license, to all other members – spelled out in a pre-determined, yet somewhat dynamic, library. These are almost guaranteed to be just the foundational technologies.

This form of shared innovation will enable the cryptocurrency vendors to benefit from rapid, shared innovation at the core – while letting them invest more of their development resources higher in the technology stack, where differentiation is more valuable.

This has been a very effective strategy employed by Open Invention Network, the first defensive patent management organization.

To a large degree, it appears that COPA is patterning itself after Open Invention Network, the organization created to protect and foster innovation in Linux and open source. A major difference appears to be that while OIN is royalty-free to join, at some point COPA will charge its community members to participate. And obviously, from a defensive standpoint, OIN covers a significant amount of technology in its patent aggression activities – while COPA will be very focused on the cryptocurrency space.

We believe the creation of COPA to be a positive, and look forward to monitoring their progress.