US Firm Lawyers up to Claim Millions in Royalties from Bitcoin ATM Operators 101
A compilation of Bitcoin ATM pictures, posted by Reddit users.

A company called First Bitcoin Capital, freshly acquired by the software company BOTS, said it is looking to start collecting royalties from bitcoin (BTC) ATM operators and manufacturers, and potential copyright infringement offenders – and said it has already hired lawyers as part of its effort.

BOTS announced on November 9 that its wholly-owned subsidiary is now looking to enforce its “Bitcoin ATM Patent against those operating Bitcoin ATMs, to collect royalty payments.” For this purpose, the company said it has “begun negotiations with a major law firm with a very successful track record in enforcing patent rights when working on a contingency basis.”

Per the press release, while these negotiations are ongoing, the company has been reaching out to individual operators, claiming that it wants “an amicable arrangement without litigation,” but also that it has put an offer on the table for these operators to join “a consortium of Bitcoin ATMs.”

On October 29, BOTS announced that it acquired a subsidiary from publicly-traded Bitcoin entity First Bitcoin Capital, a subsidiary previously listed as being owned by this entity in its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

The details in the documentation show that First Bitcoin Capital owns patent number US9135787, pertaining to a “Bitcoin kiosk/ATM device and system integrating enrollment protocol and method of using the same,” adding that it covers all transactions conducted via Bitcoin ATMs in the United States.

As such, the recent acquisition included the rights to the so-called “Bitcoin ATM patent,” claimed BOTS, which related to “the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies utilizing a Bitcoin ATM or kiosk that allows customers to purchase bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies by using cash, debit, or credit cards. Many of the elements of that intellectual property will be “standard-essential claims,” which are critical for the Bitcoin ATM networks to operate,” the firm wrote.

Paul Rosenberg, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said at the time, per a BOTS release,

“We own one of the most important intellectual properties in this space, as we believe that this patent will provide us a unique and leveraged position, in addition to our other businesses. This patent complements our innovation in the field.”

According to the announcement, all ATMs and kiosks made, sold, and operated in the United Sattes are “believed to be subject to this patent and the company intends to enforce its right.”

US Patent No. 9,135,787 was filed in 2014, by Mark Russell and John W. Russell, both of whom have filed multiple other applications as well, some dating back to the early 1980s, while the current assignee is listed as First Bitcoin Capital.

Rosenberg added,

“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, […] as those terms have not been finalized yet.”

According to coinatmradar.com, the overwhelming majority of the world’s ATMs are located in the United States: nearly 9,350 devices (or 79.3% of the global total).

Bitcoin ATMs / Tellers in the United States:

US Firm Lawyers up to Claim Millions in Royalties from Bitcoin ATM Operators 102
Source: coinatmradar.com

Meanwhile, BOTS said in the press release that an average Bitcoin ATM kiosk processes 130-180 transactions monthly, which is some USD 14- 18m potential income for the company per year.

The First Bitcoin Capital SEC filing also mentioned that the company is developing “the first global Bitcoin ATM network,” which the BOTS press release said the latter is now developing.

BOTS said it is “the founder of the first worldwide Bitcoin ATM consortium or network,” which will enable customer wallets issued by one member operator to be used for transactions on ATMs by other member operators.

“The Company will be offering a fractional ownership program allowing owner-operators of the crypto ATMs the opportunity to profit from using this future global ATM network,” the company added.

BOTS describes itself as “an emerging innovator of products, technologies, and services for the rapidly growing cyber-security, digital robotics automation, and AI for the manufacturing industry.” Per Bloomberg, located in the United States territory of Puerto Rico, BOTS operates as a software company, developing an AI-based chatbot and also offering blockchain-powered solutions.

The company’s website also provides visitors with information about various filings since 2014. The most recent of these is a quarterly report filed in April 2020 with the SEC. These were filed under the name mCig, the company’s former name, with the document filed with the SEC detailing that has offices in Nevada, and others in Jacksonville, Florida.

Its total assets, as reported in April, were USD 5.6m.
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