Pharmaceuticals tycoon Merck is looking for a patent for a way to make use of blockchain to be able to monitor products as they move through the supply chain.
Released last Thursday and posted in December 2016, the patent software describes an approach through which a blockchain can be used to preserve data about a physical object – in this instance, a solitary product – and obtains updates as it moves forward from its point of origin. That spread-out network can then be utilized to preserve data and confirming the authenticity of the item.
To put it differently, the primary target here is anti-counterfeiting. Merck currently preserves internal processes for getting rid of fake goods that move through its systems, and the suggested patent appears as if it might fit into those wider efforts.
Merck highlights in its filing that the technology “permits a secure, dependable storage of the reading results with very high data integrity, in such a way that it is extremely hard to adjust or clear off or otherwise taper [sic] with or get rid of such data, e.g. due to accidental or planned deletion or due to data corruption.”
The pharmaceutical company moves on to explain:
“In addition, the saved data can be utilized wherever access to the blockchain is accessible. This allows for a safe and distributed storage and accessibility to the saved reading results, e.g. for integrity confirmation reasons such as verifying if a supplier of a product being marked with a composite security marking, as described here, was, in fact, the originator of the product, or not.”
Whether Merck will go ahead and “put pills on the blockchain” is still to be seen, but the company has followed a number of projects up to now within the technology space.