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In reference to the patent application: US20080195499

We found a patent that seems to cover sending and receiving funds via Bitcoin.

I'm curious of how this might affect Bitcoin and existing companies that use it. Namely,

  • Is this patent directly related to Bitcoin?
  • And if not, could Bitcoin qualify as prior art to this? I know Satoshi published his code in 2008 and this application was filed in 2005.

I'd also like to know, if not to either of those, whether the approval of this application could lead to existing companies having to change their ways.

The abstract reads,

A system for peer-to-peer commerce includes electronic wallets 14 for storing electronic token files 12. The electronic tokens can be passed from wallet to wallet without oversight of a third party. At any time, the owner of a token can verify the validity of a token for a fee, but such verification is not needed to conduct commerce. The electronic tokens include a field which can be used to restrict tokens to a specific purpose or to prevent use on specific goods and services.

And the first claim,

A method of performing commerce over a network comprising:

at a first processing device:

    receiving electronic token files having a specified value at a first processing device;

    sending an appropriate set of electronic token files over the network to a second processing device in return for a desired good or service;

at a second processing device:

    receiving the set of electronic token files from the first processing device over the network; and

    optionally verifying the authenticity of one or more of the set of electronic token files.

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This question came from our site for Bitcoin crypto-currency enthusiasts.

  • John, this is a good, on-topic question for Bitcoin, but I think it would get a more complete response on Ask Patents. – Nick ODell Mar 31 '15 at 1:04
  • Welcome to Ask Patents! I know you asked a similar question here earlier today but you were pointed to Bitcoin, but your more detailed question there made it sound like you were in the right place to start! Sorry about that. I'm still a little unclear on what specifically you were trying to ask, but I did my best to edit it to be on-topic. I'd appreciate if you could check and make sure that what I've modified it to ask does still speak to your original question, and if it doesn't, feel free to edit to further-clarify. – Matthew Haugen Mar 31 '15 at 1:19
  • Yes, been bounced around a bit but no worries. And your edit was perfect thanks for that really, it explains it a lot better now. – user13840 Mar 31 '15 at 1:27
  • This article might clear your doubts; I am not expert in this but it seems this application might involve tangible currency too. – Pushpak Mar 31 '15 at 5:20
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    Bitcoin doesn't "store token files" or "pass them around". Miners are "third parties". No "fee is required to check validity". And there is no "field to restrict tokens". Really nothing you quote in your question matches remotely with how bitcoin works. – Jannes Mar 31 '15 at 7:50
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This patent application had very broad claims that could have had an impact on Bitcoin (and electronic commerce) if they had been granted.

But the application was abandoned.

Current status per PAIR: Abandoned -- Failure to Respond to an Office Action, as of 10-15-2012.

So as of now, the only impact is that it will act as prior art for any later-filed applications that attempt to claim this that were filed after 2006 (the PCT counterpart application is WO2006023599, published in 2006.)

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