New pending patent applications are published by the USPTO on Thursdays. Both of today's Spotlight Applications concern aspects of blockhain (distributed ledger, smart contracts) and digital rights management broadly construed. The first application discloses techniques registry and automated management for blockchain-enforced smart contract. The second application discloses techniques for blockchain implemented counting system and method for use in secure voting and distribution.
20190057382, "Registry and automated management method for blockchain-enforced smart contracts," assigned to nChain Holdings Ltd (AG)
The invention relates to the fields of tokenisation, blockchain and smart contract technologies. It provides a technical arrangement which simplifies the automated management of contracts. The invention comprises a method and system which use a computer-based repository for storage of the contract. The contract is then represented by a transaction on the blockchain. Metadata within the transaction's script includes a hash of the contract and a means of identifying its location within the repository. The transaction also includes an unspent output (UTXO) which indicates its status as an open (ie not terminated) contract. The contract is terminated by spending the output at a later point in time, for example, using n Lock Time+Check Lock Time Verify (CLTV). By combining this concept with other techniques and computing components, the invention can provide a powerful mechanism for implementing various tasks such as renewing or rolling over the contract, or dividing it into sub-contracts or conditions. Furthermore, as the status and existence of the contract is evidence via the blockchain, this provides a permanent, publicly visible and non-alterable record of the contract.
20190058592, "Blockchain implemented counting system and method for use in secure voting and distribution," assigned to nChain Holdings Limited (AG)
This invention relates generally to blockchain implementations and is suited for, but not limited to, use with the Bitcoin blockchain. The invention relates to a technical solution for managing a voting, counting, selection and/or decision making process. It can be used for the implementation of automated processes such as device/system control, process control, distributed computing and storage and others. The invention provides an event detecting, monitoring and/or counting mechanism. The event may be, for example, a vote, decision or selection which is made by a given entity. The invention provides a counting solution in which a computing resource, running simultaneously and in parallel to the blockchain, manages a loop-based operation. The computing resource continuously monitors the state of the blockchain as well as any other off-blockchain input data or source. The execution of the loop is influenced by the state of the blockchain. Each iteration of the loop that is executed by the computing resource is recorded in a transaction that is written to the blockchain. It is stored as a hash within the transaction's metadata. If the computing resource finds a transaction which contains a hash relating to the loop it accesses the relevant portion of code. The loop contains a conditional statement which enables the computing resource to decide which action to take. The condition may be dependent upon the state of the blockchain or any other data source. The action can be any type of action, on or off the blockchain. Thus, the combination of the computing resource and blockchain provide a Turing-complete solution.