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Author Topic: Bitbill Patent Published - Encompasses Physical Bitcoins and Paper Wallets  (Read 8279 times)
mindtomatter (OP)
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July 01, 2013, 03:03:37 AM
 #1

Douglas Feigelson’s patent application 20130166455, “Creating And Using Digital Currency” was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last Thursday, June 27th.  Mr. Feigelson is the founder of BitBills.  While the patent application has not been assigned to his company BitBills Inc., it is clearly for the BitBills cold storage concept. 
Cold storage refers to a method of keeping Bitcoins “off the grid” as a means to keep a user’s Bitcoin “secure.”  If the USPTO grants the patent application it could have an impact on other Bitcoin cold storage concepts such as Canton Becker’s BitcoinPaperWallet or even Mike Caldwell’s Casascius Coin (here is a great vid of Mike “pressing” coins). 

So what does it mean? Bitcoin Consultant John Light elaborates...
Read more

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July 01, 2013, 04:32:48 AM
 #2

Thanks for raising this.

I wonder if the publication of this thread all constitutes prior art?  It's well over a year prior to his filing date.  Physical bitcoins have been discussed for eons by the core bitcoin devs.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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July 01, 2013, 04:38:20 AM
 #3

Thankfully patents mean nothing in China.

Grin

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mindtomatter (OP)
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July 01, 2013, 05:24:40 AM
 #4

Mike, did you want to comment for the article?  We got our wires crossed internally about who had emailed you, turns out it was nobody.

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July 01, 2013, 05:26:15 AM
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http://www.netjeff.com/humor/item.cgi?file=EverybodiesJob
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July 01, 2013, 05:32:42 AM
 #6

Bitcoin is a math problem. Every math textbook with quizzes and answers is now in violation of this patent. Don't tell Texas, they are looking for an excuse to ban them.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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July 01, 2013, 05:39:13 AM
 #7

Mike, did you want to comment for the article?  We got our wires crossed internally about who had emailed you, turns out it was nobody.

The only real comment I'd have is that it's a shame that someone wants to purport to own and monopolize an idea that they didn't create, that isn't novel or non-obvious to this community.  The action of filing this patent is intellectually dishonest and reminiscent of Michael Pascazi attempting to trademark the word Bitcoin.  The whole idea of producing a product like BitBills was discussed in this forum in thorough detail long before he ever announced his product.

I applaud him for deciding to continue to create BitBills.  They are an important piece of Bitcoin history, am looking forward to seeing the next iteration of them, and I'm proud to say that I own some of the originals.  Meanwhile, I hope the community calls his patent application foul for what it is, and in the face of the legal challenge he should be expecting, that he does the same thing Mr. Pascazi did: call it quits on his application and leave to the Bitcoin community what rightfully belongs to it.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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July 01, 2013, 05:41:22 AM
 #8

Bitcoin is a math problem. Every math textbook with quizzes and answers is now in violation of this patent. Don't tell Texas, they are looking for an excuse to ban them.

So is every paper wallet and upcoming Bitcoin e-wallet like the Trezor (it too is a "device"), as well as BitChip.

At least this is a patent application, not a granted patent.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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July 01, 2013, 05:45:15 AM
Last edit: July 01, 2013, 05:59:54 AM by cbeast
 #9

Bills sold that include a private key are potentially fraudulent and should not be taken seriously as financial documents. They make great collectibles, but unless they are bonded and insured, there is nothing preventing the creator from absconding with them. This patent appears to be an attempt to legitimize fraud by promoting it as a patented instrument.

This just gets my goat because it goes against the spirit of Bitcoin and gives us a bad name. Part of me hopes that FinCEN "regulates" any patent holder like this that attempts to profit.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
mindtomatter (OP)
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July 01, 2013, 05:52:17 AM
 #10

Mike, did you want to comment for the article?  We got our wires crossed internally about who had emailed you, turns out it was nobody.

The only real comment I'd have is that it's a shame that someone wants to purport to own and monopolize an idea that they didn't create, that isn't novel or non-obvious to this community.  The action of filing this patent is intellectually dishonest and reminiscent of Michael Pascazi attempting to trademark the word Bitcoin.  The whole idea of producing a product like BitBills was discussed in this forum in thorough detail long before he ever announced his product.

I applaud him for deciding to continue to create BitBills.  They are an important piece of Bitcoin history, am looking forward to seeing the next iteration of them, and I'm proud to say that I own some of the originals.  Meanwhile, I hope the community calls his patent application foul for what it is, and in the face of the legal challenge he should be expecting, that he does the same thing Mr. Pascazi did: call it quits on his application and leave to the Bitcoin community what rightfully belongs to it.

We'll save that quote for if they go on the offensive, I don't want to assume motives here when they haven't commented on their intentions.

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July 01, 2013, 06:05:30 AM
 #11

We'll save that quote for if they go on the offensive, I don't want to assume motives here when they haven't commented on their intentions.

Mr. Feigelson contacted me on Nov 2, 2011 and asserted that in making Casascius Coins that I "stole" his "tech" and represented that I could "license" the idea from him.

His patent application, if granted, would be a deterrent to all kinds of bitcoin-related commerce, regardless of his stated intentions.  I'm eager to hear what he's got to say with regards to his intentions, but this patent application on its face is overly broad - just like Mr. Pascazi's claim of owning the term "bitcoin" - and should not be granted under any circumstance.  I submit that his pursuit of it as filed - even if described with the best possible intentions - should be viewed as an unwelcome attempt to encumber the project and our community.



Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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July 01, 2013, 06:10:53 AM
 #12

Sounds like a giant step backwards.  I hope the patent application isn't granted.  You should contest it, Mike.

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July 01, 2013, 06:16:38 AM
 #13

Alan over at Bitcoin Armory contacted me about the article saying he was concerned it would encumber parts of his cold storage, and that it was something defending.   Mike, did you respond to their licensing demands?

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July 01, 2013, 06:27:08 AM
 #14

Alan over at Bitcoin Armory contacted me about the article saying he was concerned it would encumber parts of his cold storage, and that it was something defending.   Mike, did you respond to their licensing demands?

Not really - since at that point, he wasn't able to back up the existence of any sort of ownership that would make licensing necessary.

Quote
[00:45] <casascius> Just to get this out of the way, do you believe that you own any sort of legally recognized intellectual property that precludes what I am doing?
[00:46] <llama> yes
[00:47] <casascius> Would you mind sending me a copy of its registration?
[00:49] <llama> Mike, we'll send you anything as we see fit
[00:50] <llama> within the next week likely
[00:50] <casascius> What would you like for me to do?  Are you essentially asking that I stop producing physical bitcoins?
[00:52] <llama> You could license our tech
[00:52] <casascius> Do you have a patent on the idea of embedding private keys in objects?
[00:52] <casascius> I performed a quick search and wasn't able to find such a thing
[00:52] <llama> we're in the application process
[00:53] <llama> patents take a couple of years to issue
[00:53] <llama> in some cases at least
[00:54] <llama> you might have a partnership option
[00:55] <casascius> So what you are saying is you want me to pay you a fee for making physical bitcoins, just so I understand you correctly
[00:56] <llama> I never said that
[00:56] <casascius> You mentioned licensing, so that's how I understood that.  If wrong, what do you have in mind?
[00:57] <llama> All I'm saying is that it's our position that you've copied our tech.

Since he sent me nothing within the week or at any time until now, I didn't worry much about it.  So now that this is appearing, this brief exchange becomes relevant.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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July 01, 2013, 06:52:31 AM
 #15

So they actually want to patent it in usa and take peoples information and sell them a card which will have only 1 bitcoin address that can not be changed ever and by signing their TOS you will agree that you own that address and card

If people started using them in big amounts, one day US gov will grab bitbill's ass and ask every single customers data and then you can expect some big shit.


Peoples are forgetting bitcoins main motto (Privacy & Anonymity) and trying to make it another shit fiat currency even worst than that due to greed.


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July 01, 2013, 06:58:43 AM
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I wouldn't sweat this, guys.  I'm not an IP lawyer, but I do hold a patent, and know quite a bit on the subject.  Patents like this are next to meaningless, as it would likely only protect someone from recreating an EXACT replica of their solution.  This filing seems to be meant for the sole purpose of deterring / scaring competition, or possibly just out of ignorance of patent law as far as what this filing would protect.

Mike, if you're interested, I can get you in touch with a top-notch bitcoin-friendly libertarian patent lawyer who would likely be glad to take a look at this issue for you.
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July 01, 2013, 07:12:00 AM
 #17

I may take you up on that, though as it turns out, I may already be well equipped in terms of access to legal talent to put up prompt effective opposition.  My first choice of law firm to handle this has done excellent work for me in the past and also they are highly interested in Bitcoin and so would probably be enthusiastic about this.  So, me challenging this is pretty much a given here.

Will keep your offer in mind just in case for any reason they can't take this one.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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July 01, 2013, 07:31:20 AM
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I wouldn't sweat this, guys.  I'm not an IP lawyer, but I do hold a patent, and know quite a bit on the subject.  Patents like this are next to meaningless, as it would likely only protect someone from recreating an EXACT replica of their solution.  This filing seems to be meant for the sole purpose of deterring / scaring competition, or possibly just out of ignorance of patent law as far as what this filing would protect.

Mike, if you're interested, I can get you in touch with a top-notch bitcoin-friendly libertarian patent lawyer who would likely be glad to take a look at this issue for you.

There is a big difference in other patients and this one.
They are trying to patent a stuff which wasn't even their idea and it's not also good for bitcoin due to all the problems USA govt is creating now.
I'm not sure what kind of technology they are going to use on cards, but if it's not QR or some opensource stuff, i guess they will be able to lock funds otherwise i'm sure they will keep Public key data and customers all info.


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July 01, 2013, 09:54:20 AM
 #19

Something can easily be set up in China if this (typically) silly patent is granted (and unfortunately many silly patents *do* get granted in the USA which then later have to be challenged making lawyers rich and small businesses poor).

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July 01, 2013, 10:00:36 AM
 #20

This is disgusting. What's this lame llama thinking?

I'll never buy a single bitbill. I hope more people boycott them as well. I'm actually considering buying some casacius coins - or any other competitor - just as a form of protest.

I also hope this happens:
Something can easily be set up in China if this (typically) silly patent is granted

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