Hold It Right There, Citibank

Japan could hobble the bank in the race to develop E-cash

When Citibank applied for Japanese patents for its digital-money technology, the money-center giant did everything by the book. It thoroughly checked existing research and even ran a 200-page description of its work by Japan's Ministry of Finance. Having won patent protection in the U.S., and with similar filings in 40-odd countries, Citi figured Japanese approval wouldn't be a hassle.

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