The use of cryptocurrencies for online purchases has been steadily gaining popularity. However, using crypto to pay for goods in stores has been slow due to the lack of infrastructure that can support crypto transactions. Tangem AG has obtained a patent for technology that enables crypto transactions over conventional POS terminals without modification of the existing infrastructure.
Conventional electronic payment systems, such as MasterCard, Visa, and Europay, do not support cryptocurrency transactions in their default state. In other words, a customer cannot simply pay for groceries using a cryptocurrency at the local supermarket’s Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal. To address this deficiency, Tangem, a Swiss fintech pioneer, has developed and patented a secure cryptocurrency hardware wallet and associated cryptocurrency transaction authorization protocol compatible with the conventional electronic payment systems. Thus, a vendor does not have to purchase a separate POS terminal configured specifically for cryptocurrency transactions.
Tangem’s US Patent No. 11,315,113 describes a secure crypto wallet, which can be implemented as a smartcard or smartphone app, that stores customers’ private cryptographic keys to crypto funds. The wallet is configured to interact with a conventional POS terminal using a standard single-tap contactless approach or an insert-your-card contact approach made with a chip and PIN bank card. The patent also describes a novel blockchain transaction authorization method by which a POS terminal can obtain a blockchain transaction signature (authorization) from the customer’s hardware crypto wallet and transmit this authorization over a conventional electronic payment network by embedding necessary data into the standard electronic messages.
One of the main challenges of prosecuting fintech patents is overcoming the subject matter eligibility rejections under 35 USC 101 in view of the Supreme Court decision Alice Corp v. CLS Bank, which restricts patentability of certain business methods. This challenge can be even greater if your patent application is assigned to the USPTO art units 3620 or 3680, which examine business method patents and are notorious for their prosecution difficulty, with patent grant rates as low as 25% and 30%, respectively. Despite being placed in the art unit 3680, ArentFox Schiff patent attorneys were able to procure the patent for Tangem, within six months from the filing date, with minimal prosecution using well-developed patent drafting strategies, such as emphasizing the invention’s technical aspects and improvements over conventional technical standards.