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Company that uses Blockchain.com faces the challenge of owning a generic domain

Company files trademark lawsuit against Blockchain.io owner.

A cryptocurrency company that owns the domain names Blockchain.com and Blockchain.info has filed a lawsuit (pdf) against the owner of Blockchain.io alleging infringement of its “Blockchain” mark.

Are you asking, “Wait, someone has a trademark for the term blockchain?” That’s a fair question.

The plaintiffs, BLOCKCHAIN LUXEMBOURG S.A. & BLOCKCHAIN (US), INC. have a design mark for its logo. It argues it also has some sort of common law rights in the term blockchain, but I’m having difficulty understanding how it differentiates its brand from the common term for the technology upon which cryptocurrencies are based. Here’s how the company tries to draw a distinction:

Blockchain does not claim exclusive rights to the word “blockchain” to describe the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, and used for virtually limitless other applications and by many industries, of which digital currency is only a small subset. Rather, it claims exclusive rights in the BLOCKCHAIN marks, which it has been using exclusively for its Blockchain Products and which have become well and favorably known to consumers throughout the United States and the world as identifying its highly regarded and secure services. As a reflection of Blockchain’s status and popularity, its website at www.blockchain.com is the first organic result of a Google search for “blockchain.”

This reminds me a bit of this FedEx commercial:

It’s difficult to see how the plaintiff claims rights in the Blockchain mark.

Here’s one of its claims:

“Except for two letters, Paymium’s URL www.blockchain.io is identical to Blockchain’s URL www.blockchain.info.”

Well, yes. You can say that about any .io (or .in) domain and any .info domain. You can also say that .net is only three letters different from .com.

Any use of the term blockchain for a business related to blockchain technology is going to be very, very hard to protect as a trademark.

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  1. Anne Bezet says

    Paymium, that has been successfully operating a BTC/EUR exchange since 2013 and serving 170,000 customers, is currently closing its private ICO to accelerate the rollout of Blockchain.io. The public sale for this complementary cryptocurrency exchange service will start on September 27.

    The domain name Blockchain.io was registered by Paymium way back in April 2012 (https://www.whois.com/whois/blockchain.io), and the Blockchain.io project launch was publicly advertised in the press months ago. 3 days before the beginning of the sale, and a few weeks away from the official release of our platform, it thus comes as no surprise that we are challenged by some potential competitors, for obvious reasons. We condemn this approach that surely doesn’t comply with the crypto-community values.

    Moreover, Blockchain.io disputes the accusation of making false and misleading statements. What is at stake is, at first, the protection of our name, our reputation, and our loyal investors and customers. For these reasons, our lawyers will answer point by point the claims that have been made.

    As for our ICO, we already provided early investors with the alpha version of our platform that is ready to be launched right after the public sale in November. The name blockchain.io is the legal property of Paymium and the public sale will start as planned on September 27.

  2. Denny Soinski says

    Hello Support,

    How do domainers like me know whether or not a blockchain-related domain name is a trademark violation? For instance, what if a domainer owns blockchainprofessionals.com? Just because there’s a domain named blockchain.com, is the domain name blockchainprofessionals.com necessarily a trademark violation? Is there a fairly inexpensive way to legally find the answer to my question?

    Thank you

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