Hot on the blockchain patenting trail, IBM’s latest patent, this time coming out of its Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, appears to signal a new pursuit of “open scientific research”.
First filed in December 2017, the patent for “Blockchain for Open Scientific Research” claims that blockchain can aid the process of scientific research by tracking research and development projects across institutional borders while offering “a tamper-resistant log of scientific research”. The patent filing outlined the work of IBM inventors Jae-wook Ahn, Maria Chang, Patrick Watson, and Ravindranath Kokku:
“The blockchain system can form a blockchain representing a research project, wherein the blockchain comprises a first block of research data and a second block of analysis data representing a log of an analysis performed on the research data. Summary blocks and correction blocks can also be added to the blockchain representing the post analysis of the research results.”
The patent clarifies the fact that “currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps”, although IBM is clearly not alone in applying DLT in the general science sector.
However, as has been demonstrated by heightened levels of research in IBMs labs over the course of the past 12 months, the company has become one of the major drivers of blockchain patents in the field. Another example of its impact on blockchain development and its practical applications, which again focuses on security, is its recent collaboration with data storage solutions company Seagate.
The IBM/Seagate project is aimed at enabling manufacturers and users of hard drives to ensure their authentication via a multi-layered security protection to data storage provenance. An immutable record of a product’s life from manufacturing to decommissioning is guaranteed by utilizing both blockchain and advanced cryptographic product identification technology, according to Seagate. Mark Re, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Seagate, explained:
“By combining Seagate’s innovations in product security with IBM’s blockchain expertise, we want to prove that we can help reduce the incidence of product counterfeiting in the future.”
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