Dogecoin At Centre Of Trademark Battle

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Crypto copycats: Dogecoin at centre of trademark battle

Crypto lovers and many others are familiar with Dogecoin. More so after Elon Musk endorsed it on Twitter several times. Musk is also known as the ‘Dogefather’ in the crypto community for throwing his weight behind Dogecoin, which started as a meme currency.
While Dogecoin was once relegated to tech niches, the token’s meteoric rise has caught the attention of even those who have no knowledge of cryptocurrency.

And now, Dogecoin is embroiled in a trademark battle over its name.

First launched in 2013, based on the viral meme of a Shiba Inu dog named Doge, the token is up by 8,414.30 percent over the past year even though it is only at a third of its peak price that it achieved in May.

What is the trademark battle about?

The Dogecoin Foundation, a non-profit organisation that was established in Colorado, Denver, by the original token’s creators, has now filed to trademark the name. While its creators Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer left the cryptocurrency space disillusioned, other members who participated in the token’s development are still part of the foundation.

The foundation’s claim on the Dogecoin trademark is not the only one. At least half a dozen papers have been filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office with applicants vying to own the Dogecoin brand.

The foundation had been defunct for years but was re-established in August to help the cryptocurrency with advocacy and support. The board even included Jared Birchall, a close associate and representative of tech billionaire Elon Musk, and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

“We are here to accelerate the development effort by supporting current Dogecoin Core and future Dogecoin Developers to work on a full-time basis through sponsorship, as well as providing a welcome landing for new contributors hoping to help with the project,” the foundation stated.

Who are in the race?

Many have questioned the move to trademark a brand after eight years of existence, with critics saying that the foundation was only re-established when Dogecoin rose to prominence, becoming one of the five largest cryptocurrencies.

Many have capitalised on the Dogecoin brand by keeping it alive while the original foundation was defunct. One such organisation is Cook Islands-based Moon Rabbit AngoZaibatsu LLC, which has also applied for the Dogecoin trademark.

“We’re not doing it with any malicious intent,” said Angel Versitti, Founder of Moon Rabbit AngoZaibatsu. “We thought it was abandoned, we thought it desperately needed guidance. We’re not going to make a U-turn just because the big kid came back to the playground.”

Others have also stated that the idea of trying to trademark something which itself is a copy is at best ironic. With many cryptocurrencies having most of their code open to users to look through for security, many tokens are borne out of modifications of existing technology.

Dogecoin was built off an altcoin called Luckycoin, which itself was made based on Litecoin, a large altcoin. But Litecoin also owes its origin to the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin, whose code it bored. Dogecoin’s name is also directly inspired by the Doge meme and Bitcoin’s name.

But lawyers and legal experts believe that Dogecoin Foundation has the upper hand in terms of claiming the trademark. With the brand name being in continuous use for the cryptocurrency, the foundation is likely to win the trademark even if it might take over a year to do so.

(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)

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