Pharma Giant Merck eyes Patent to use Blockchain for Tracking Goods in Supply Chain
Submitted on December 2016 and published last Thursday, the patent application draws a method by which a blockchain technology could be used to store information about a physical object. In this case, a single product and receive updates as it moves onward from its point of origin. That distributed network could then be utilized to store information confirming the authenticity of the item.
The main point here is anti-counterfeiting. Merck already has internal processes for removing fake good news that moves through its systems, and the proposed patent looks as if it would fit into those broader efforts.
Merck notes in its filing that the technology “allows secure, reliable storage of the reading results with very high data integrity, such that it is virtually impossible to manipulate or erase or otherwise taper sic with or lose such data, e.g., due to unintended or deliberate deletion or due to data corruption.”
The Pharma Company goes on to describe:
“Furthermore, the stored information can be accessed wherever access to the blockchain is available. It allows for a safe and distributed storage and access to the stored reading results, e.g., for integrity verification purposes such as checking whether a supplier of a product being marked with composite security marking, as described herein, was, in fact, the originator of the product, or not.”
Whether Merck will move to “put pills on the blockchain” remains to be seen, but the company has pursued many initiatives to date within the technology space.
The firm is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, with a representative of the firm leading the group’s healthcare working group when it started last year.