The Highway may go “ever on and on” for Bilbo Baggins, however it has come to a pointy finish for the developer of a cryptocurrency referred to as JRR Token, after the property of JRR Tolkien took authorized motion to dam it.
The Lord of the Rings-themed cryptocurrency, with the tagline “The One Token That Guidelines Them All”, launched in August. It got here with a video endorsement from Billy Boyd, the actor who performed Pippin within the movies, and the head-scratching claim that “Saruman was attempting to unify Center Earth underneath centralised rule whereas the fellowship needed decentralisation. Cryptocurrency is actually a decentralised community.”
The Tolkien property was not satisfied. It took motion virtually instantly through the World Intellectual Property Organization’s arbitration procedure, the place it argued that the product infringed its trademark rights to JRR Tolkien’s identify, and that the area identify was “particularly designed to mislead web customers into believing that it and the web site to which it resolves have some reputable business connection” with Tolkien. It identified that solely the letters “L” and “I” have been omitted from the area identify.
The developer mentioned in response that JRR Token was supposed to reference “a singular type of digital forex”, fairly than the late fantasy creator, and that the truth that the area identify “brings to thoughts” the identify JRR Tolkien is parody fairly than dangerous religion. “The introductory header on the web site homepage ‘One Token That Guidelines Them All’, referencing the well-known phrase ‘One ring to rule all of them’ … produces a humorous distinction as a way to invoke the specified impact of a parody,” it mentioned, within the WIPO’s abstract of its argument.
The WIPO’s arbitrator, nevertheless, mentioned that “the respondent doesn’t specify why the disputed area identify is humorous, humorous or nail-biting, and never only a area identify chosen as a consequence of its similarities with the [Tolkien estate’s] logos to take business benefit of its evocation”.
The developer additionally asserted that he selected JRR for his area identify as a result of “JRR” stands for “Journey by way of Danger to Reward” – a declare the WIPO dismissed, saying that “it’s not clear to the panel what ‘Journey by way of Danger to Reward’ truly means, and why the time period ‘journey’ is related to the acquisition of tokens”.
The Tolkien property has now recovered the area identify JRRToken.com. It has stopped the developer working underneath that identify, and has obtained their enterprise to delete any infringing on-line content material, it mentioned on 23 November, and the US-based developer has additionally paid the property’s authorized prices.
“The Tolkien property is vigilant in stopping unauthorised events from profiting from the JRR Tolkien identify and the content material of JRR Tolkien’s literary works. This was a very flagrant case of infringement, and the property is happy that it has been concluded on passable phrases,” mentioned its solicitor Steven Maier.