I just wrote a bit about it, having determined from the company that the planned patent covers the Corda distributed ledger software. It seems its ability to restrict access to data to just those that have access rights to it — and one can imagine why that’s a must for financial markets players — is something that R3 wants to protect via patent law.
The patent was a tiny surprise to me, as the company had recently indicated it was looking to open source its offering. I guess it might still end up doing that in some way. The devil will be in the detail of the patent once it’s made available. And R3 remains a member of the open source Hyperledger Project.
Corda is part of a bigger development that R3 is working on, called Concord, and elements of that should appear in the next few months. Patent or not, the long-term future for Corda will likely be one of commoditization (just as has happened with messaging middleware and big data platforms), while the money will be in the value added components to ease deployment, in integration and in business applications.