The craze surrounding decentralized finance [DeFi] has cooled down but space is still very popular and has seen many new features over the past several months. Despite the fact that DeFi has taken the world by storm, even this sector is not spared from some difficulties in registering a trademark.
The word ‘coin’ is difficult to trademark as it is a generic term that is not in itself distinct. Clear reasoning and evidence need to be there to back up its claim as to why it is distinct from the rest. In the latest news, prominent Bitcoin advocate and tech entrepreneur Andreas Antonopoulos slammed a DeFi platform and who goes by the name ‘COIN’ for sending a legal notice to a Twitter user with the name ‘coin_artist’.
The project claimed to have trademarked its name thus prohibiting other platforms/handles to use the same name. This did not go well with the community members especially after finding out that the USPTO had already rejected the project’s application for the name“COIN”. Currently, it just has a “$COIN” trademark for the purpose of “financial service software”.
Antonopolous called COIN a “scrummy company” and went on to say that
“This company didn’t invent the name “COIN” (obviously) or its use as a token name. AFAIK they didn’t invent the term DeFi. They’re happy to appropriate both to use in their name, taking from the creative commons. Then they turn around and try to claim their utterly generic name, trademarked in obvious bad faith and they send threatening letters to an artist.”
Despite COIN’s official blog post stating that its legal team did not ask anyone to change their name, branding, or use of the word Coin across the industry, the project was at the receiving end of a lot of backlash following the event.
Antonopoulos went on to say that COIN’s ticker symbol is indistinguishable from others because they” picked an incredibly generic name”. He further added,
“What this should tell you is that they are scammers. They are soulless exploiters without any ethics. They are happy to appropriate public goods and then use their money and their lawyers to threaten so they can solidify their dodgy claim.”