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This application is claiming everything that is involved in Bitcoin mining or any other cryptocurrency mining using Asic chips where the block chain is segmented and hashed by multiple parallel hash units and then recombined. I would like to make sure open source cryptocurrency is not patented.

I know there should be something out there that teaches how to speed up mining with the use of GPU or Asic chips that is before July 11th, 2012.

  • Publication number: US 2014/0019693 A1
  • Assignee: Intel
  • Prior Art Date: July 11, 2012 (but see caveats below)
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: ?

The three independent claims (1, 7, and 19) (as of June 27, 2015) are all essentially variations of claim 1, (substitute "computing device", "method", "machine-readable storage media"):

A ["computing device", "method", "machine-readable storage media"] for processing a data buffer, the ["computing device", "method", "machine-readable storage media"] comprising:

a data buffer processing module to: access an arbitrary-length data buffer having a buffer length and a plurality of data segments, each data segment having a segment length greater than zero and less than the buffer length;

directly read the data segments into a single data register, the single data register having a plurality of data paths, each data segment being read directly into a different data path of the single data register;

perform a serial data processing algorithm on each of the data paths of the single data register substantially in parallel to produce a result for each data path;

and combine the results produced for each of the data paths of the single register to form the output of the serial data processing algorithm.

The priority date for this application is July 11, 2012, and the assignee is Intel. However, there are six inventors listed, so any prior art from these individuals or Intel in general would avoid any issues regarding burden-of-proof for inventorship if they were earlier than July 11, 2011:

  • Sean M. Gulley
  • Wajdi K. Feghali
  • Vinodh Gopal
  • James D. Guilford
  • Gilbert M. Wolrich
  • Kirk S. Yap

Update (September 5, 2015): This patent has now undergone several office actions, and there has been no amendment to the claims. The inventors are repeating arguments with the examiner during each office action:

Claims 1-20 are rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(a) as being unpatentable over Sprengers [GPU-based Password Cracking on the Security of Password Hashing Schemes regarding Advances in Graphics Processing Units] in view of Zalewski et al. [Case Study on FPGA Perfomrance of Parallel Hash Functions]. Sprengers teaches the use of GPU programmable ALUs for parallel processing of hashes. Zalewski teaches a proposed parallelizable hash function on an FPGA.

The examiner has determined the applicant's invention to be directed towards the parallel performance of cryptographic hashing schemes. The examiner knows that such improvements have been in use in the fields of password cracking and cryptographic currency mining such as Bitcoin mining. Therefore the examiner has determined the overall board aspect of the applicant's claims to be obvious given the teachings of programmable ALU's taught in GPU, FPGA, and ASICs. The examiner suggests the applicant further narrow what it is the applicant considers the novel aspect of the present application.

In short, the examiner is not budging on his position, but some additional (more specific) prior art would be extremely helpful in getting this patent rejected. Intel has shown no signs of abandoning this attempt to patent something that arose from the open source community. In the year since this question was posted, there has been no attempt to provide prior art. Where are the open source contributors?

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This question is missing information necessary to easily research this patent application. Please add missing information to this prior art request, including: a patent number, at least one independent claim, a priority date (the date before which the prior art is needed) and a plain English description of the independent claim. See the prior art request template for more information and an example.

My understanding of MPEP 1134.01 is that it may not be possible for third party submissions, since the section only applies to patents filed after September 16, 2012. – vallismortis Sep 5 at 15:51
I updated this question to conform to the prior art requirements, but note that this application is being prosecuted under pre-AIA rules (the priority date is July 11, 2012 but the AIA was effective March 16, 2013). – vallismortis Sep 5 at 15:52

2 Answers 2

I just restricted Google search results for GPU bitcoin mining from 1/1/2009 to 7/10/2012.

Quite a few references are made, including:

BitCoin History: July 18, 2010 - ArtForz generated his first block after establishing his personal OpenCL GPU hash farm

And even here on StackExchange (May 5, 2012):

When was the first GPU miner made available publicly?

And a post dated December 19, 2010 on the OpenCL GPU miner, which was first available October 1, 2010.

The CUDA miner was released September 18, 2010.

The idea was first suggested on December 12, 2009 in an online forum.

There is source code available for a GPU miner dated December 24, 2010 (Updated February 27, 2011). Would someone be willing to have a look at this code and compare it to the claims?

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It appears the examiner in this case is already familiar with bitcoin mining--there is a rejection based on that (with specific examples) already in the image file wrapper for this application.


From the non-final OA issued 6/20/2014 (it is a screenshot) this can be accessed via the USPTO's Public PAIR database.

enter image description here

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The examiner and inventors have now been through this same argument three times (including overcoming a final rejection), and the claims have not yet been amended. Intel seems willing to drag out the prosecution of this application until the examiner gives up. – vallismortis Sep 5 at 16:02

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