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.