It's not a device, and although it is a software platform, it'sCreative Commons' licensed ... and MIT OCW-centric and Yale-centric, and is like Wikipedia, which are also CC, and is explicitly for open sharing of ideas.
Patent - Patents protect an invention that is "novel" (new and original) and "nonobvious" (to someone with technical expertise in the field of the invention). This has traditional been primarily used for physical devices (machines, electronics, certain manufactured goods), but has recently been applied to more abstract concepts, such as computer software algorithms or business processes.
Fascinating Harvard talk on the Internet and autonomous agents and networks this morning (which should be watchable soon) ...
Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet ?
Di Filippi, Primavera. 2014. [http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/luncheon/2014/04/difilippi Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet ?]. April 15. Cambridge, MA: cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/luncheon/2014/04/difilippi.
I've added this and many other resources byPrimavera to about 8 WUaS wiki subject pages ...
Search here: http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University