Puerto Rico-based blockchain and robotics firm Bots Inc. has announced it is exploring its options with “a major law firm” to launch litigation against firms operating Bitcoin ATMs across the United States.
Two weeks ago, the company acquired a patent for protocols underpinning the operation of Bitcoin ATMs, which it believes makes it eligible for millions in monthly royalties.
As the owner of intellectual property for technology it claims is fundamental to the operation of Bitcoin ATM networks, Bots’ chief executive Paul Rosenberg is eying “per-transaction” royalties from Bitcoin ATM manufacturers:
“Per-transaction royalty payments will be negotiated for a several-year term. Some agreements, especially with the manufacturers, could cover previous years and/or a significant number of coming years.”
With more than 9,400 Bitcoin ATMs installed across the United States estimated to be processing between 130 and 180 transactions monthly, Bots believes its patent can drive $14 million to $18 million dollars in monthly royalties. It is not known if this figure is an ambit claim to open up negotiations or whether the technology is as crucial as the company claims.
Bots acquired the rights to U.S. Patent No. 9,135,787 B1 “Bitcoin Kiosk / ATM Device and System Integrating Enrollment Protocol and Method of Using the Same” on Oct. 29 through its subsidiary First Bitcoin Capital LLC. The patent was originally filed in 2014.
First Bitcoin Capital itself acquired the patent in July 2019 and launched a thus-far unsuccessful campaign to secure up to $50 million in royalties by 2024. Bots began acquiring First Bitcoin Capital’s crypto assets and related technologies from July of this year and appears to have doubled down on the patent royalties campaign.
Bots hopes to “reach an amicable arrangement without litigation” with U.S.-based ATM operators, noting that it will be “offering those operators to join a consortium of Bitcoin ATMs.”
Bots claims to be in the process of developing a “Worldwide Bitcoin ATM network” intended to allow interoperability between Bitcoin ATM terminals regardless of the company operating the machine.
The crypto community has historically condemned the use of patents to restrict access to technologies, with U.S.-based financial services company Square announcing in September it would form a consortium to fight patent-trolling within the blockchain and crypto sectors.
Square’s “Crypto Open Patent Alliance” will combine all members’ blockchain patents into a shared library to “help the crypto community defend against patent aggressors and trolls.”