JPMorgan’s Creepy Patent: Why You Should Be Worried

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade

Less than seven months after a unit of JPMorgan Chase settled with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for $410 million in penalties and disgorgement over allegations that it had manipulated electricity markets in California and the Midwest, one of its employees, Shawn Wesley Alexander, submitted a really creepy patent request to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on February 10, 2014.

The patent might not be creepy for the owner of a video game arcade but JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in America – with a global footprint and an unprecedented three Federal felony counts to which it has pleaded guilty in the past four years. The first two counts came in 2014 for looking the other way at Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme as the bank watched hundreds of billions of dollars come and go through his business account at the bank, but never for the payment of securities he was supposed to be trading for clients. The next felony count came in 2015 for being one of multiple banks engaged in rigging the foreign exchange market.

The patent was approved on January 16 of this year under the title of “Dynamic Game Deployment.” Under “Background” for the patent, it says this: “Interactive games or challenges can be an effective tool to motivate/incentivize users, employees, etc., to achieve various goals or objectives.” Under “Description” we are offered this:

“It can be appreciated that virtual games/challenges (such as those implemented on electronic devices, e.g., computers, mobile devices, etc.) can be effective in motivating/incentivizing users to achieve various goals/objectives. However, existing technologies do not enable the deployment of such games/challenges in a manner that can effectively incentivize users across organizations and/or enable organization administrators to dynamically configure/adjust aspects of such games/challenges based on various changes that may occur over the course of such game(s).

“Accordingly, as described herein, a gamification platform is provided that can enable the deployment of multiple games/challenges across multiple users and/or an entire organization, population, etc. Such a platform can deploy multiple games to various users, and receive various interactions from such users in relation to the various deployed games. As described herein, such interactions (reflecting the various ways in which such users interact with and/or progress within various games) can be analyzed and various aspects of such games can be adjusted/configured based on such analysis (e.g., by providing dynamic notifications to the user suggesting/encouraging a particular action/operation.”

These statements caught our eye because one of the biggest concerns of Federal regulators is the culture of Wall Street and why its minions seem to be hopelessly incentivized to engage in abusing customers and illegal activities. JPMorgan’s culture has been so bad that two trial lawyers Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer, published a book on the subject, comparing the bank to the Gambino crime family

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