Trademarks and patents are often frowned upon in the world of cryptocurrency. This decentralized technology is designed to be free and open to everyone. As such, trademarks and patents can cause a lot of unnecessary hindrances. In the United Kingdom, one company successfully trademarked the word ‘Bitcoin’.
A TRADEMARK WITH MAJOR IMPLICATIONS
Trademarking a commonly used term is not all that straightforward. Although one could obtain a trademark for the term “Bitcoin”, enforcing that trademark will be a different matter altogether. After all, the term Bitcoin has been ‘trademarked’ before, but it was never used to prosecute people using this term irrespective of their commercial interest.
Even so, one particular company in the United Kingdom somehow managed to trademark the term “Bitcoin” in late 2017. It is a bit unclear how the company went about achieving this and what they aim to do with it moving forward. The current relationship between Monopolip Ltd. and the cryptocurrency industry also remains a bit unclear at this time.
The bigger concern is what this approved trademark filing means for the cryptocurrency industry itself. For most people and companies, this will not result in any major changes. One Reddit user, however, explained that he had received a cease and desist letter when using the Bitcoin term in connection with his T-shirt business. Considering that most of his shirts pertain to Bitcoin, there is an issue here.
Enforcing this trademark filing outside the United Kingdom will be pretty challenging. Within that nation’s borders, however, the situation is quite different. Considering that the aforementioned Reddit user is seemingly running a UK-based shop, there is some legal gray area to explore.
There have been a few unsuccessful attempts at trademarking Bitcoin the US over the past few years. That doesn’t mean people will stop trying in the years to come, though. Cryptocurrencies are extremely popular right now, and it is only normal that more people will look to them in an effort to get rich. Using various methods to do so is to be expected, although opting for a trademark filing is pretty bothersome.
It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. The term ‘Bitcoin’ is far too generic to be trademarked, yet the UK government decided to grant the trademark regardless. Whether or not that decision will hurt the industry moving forward remains to be seen. It’s a very peculiar situation that will spark many debates moving forward.