Last week there were reports that the British company A. B. C. IPHoldings South West failed to register the trademark «Bitcoin». This became known thanks to the incident on the Etsy website, because IP Holdings initiated the release of a trade ban themed t-shirts on the topic of bitcoin, one of the sellers sites.
However, too early to sound the alarm is a trademark registered only in classes apparel, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and does not affect the operation of the cryptocurrency industry.
Last week, cryptocurrency enthusiasts have learned that the trademark «Bitcoin» were registered
Intellectual property office of great Britain. This news came as a big surprise to a seller of t-shirts on Etsy, a seller of t-shirts with the word «Bitcoin». He received a warning that he was recommended to immediately stop selling such products or to meet with owners of trademarks in court. The letter said:
About company IP Holdings quite little information. It is worth noting that the company has exclusive rights to the trademark «Bitcoin» for all classes of goods and services. In the application filed in the Office specified list of products where you can’t place the name «Bitcoin» in the UK without the permission of IP Holdings. These products include
clothing for adults, clothing, shoes, bandanas, socks, almost any article of clothing. In addition, the company also registered a trademark in classes of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. That is irrelevant to the world of cryptocurrency and Finance is an intellectual property right has not. Officially the trade mark was registered on 13 April this year.
The British claim was not the first successful precedent in this area, because before there were other attempts to register the trademark «Bitcoin» at least one of which was successful. In 2016 in Russia the trademark «BitCoin» were registered
the company «Bitcoin». The owner of this company — Alex Fork, the head Community the Blockchain and FINTECH-the Future of Fintech accelerator. Then he noted that no plans for commercial use of the mark, but on the contrary started the whole process solely in order to prevent possible monopolization of the brand «Bitcoin» in one hand and the subsequent draining money from Russian users of the cryptocurrency.
This attempt of the Russian company became one of the few successful. In March 2015, the Bureau of patents and trademarks United States rejected the request of the company Urban Trend for the registration of the trademark «Bitcoin», later a similar fate befell many other applications in different countries. So, a year later, the Russian service for intellectual property Rospatent rejected the application of the Moscow firm M-Group and three other companies were trying to obtain the trademark.
Previous attempts to register a trademark greatly angered members of the community. Even in 2015, a non-profit organization the Bitcoin Foundation has published a request not to attempt to register a copyright on the term «Bitcoin».
«The Bitcoin Foundation believes that the term «Bitcoin» should not be the intellectual property of any person or entity,» explained
the organization in January 2015. «It’s a common designation, as in the case of other currencies, such as «dollar», «Euro», «yen», etc. the Foundation is committed to do everything possible to leave the term «Bitcoin» free for public use.
However, now the community should not be worried about the possibility of monopolization of intellectual property rights in the term Bitcoin and its direct derivatives. Successful registration of such marks (for example, the MtGox exchange in Japan in 2013) occurred at a time when cryptocurrency is not widespread and specialists of the patent offices considered this word an assumed name. Now the word Bitcoin is common knowledge and has lost the uniqueness, so his enrollment in classes, financial services or computing is simply impossible, and the previously registered marks can be challenged in court if the owners can not prove his involvement in the creation of Bitcoin.