Bitcoin Trademark Issued for the first time in Russia

Bitcoin and Russia have had some tough times so far. The government is not interested in having bitcoin around, but they definitely want to explore the use of blockchain technology in banking and financial sector. However, ‘Bitcoin’ did get its date with the legal and regulatory system in the country after a trademark of the same name was approved by the concerned authorities.

The number of bitcoin users in the Russian Federation are increasing on a regular basis. But, at the same time, the government is doing all it can to stop people from using it. Earlier this year, the Russian Ministry of Finance had passed a draft regulation that made converting bitcoin to ruble illegal, punishable by imprisonment and a penalty.

With bitcoin not being widely used in the region, many companies are trying to capitalize on the name and the branding associated with Bitcoin by attempting to trademark it. According to available reports, as many as four businesses have so far tried to trademark the name and one of them succeeded in it.

The reports state that Bitcoin OOO, equivalent to a Limited Liability Company, has become the proud owner of the trademark. The certificate for the name Bitcoin was issued to Alex Fork, the owner of Bitcoin OOO. Alex Fork also happens to be a known personality in the European fintech startup circle. He is currently the head and founder of Future Fintech, a fintech accelerator program.

Speaking to the publication, Alex Fork was quoted saying that his company has no plans to commercially use and his intention behind acquiring the trademark was to protect it from being misused by others. The trademark assigned to Alex Fork will be valid until December 30, 2023. However, it may soon be made available to the public domain, allowing anyone to use it.

Other businesses that tried to register the bitcoin trademark includes M-Group, Intelprom OOO, and Doc OOO. Since its massive adoption, Bitcoin is one of the most sought after brands by the banking and financial sector and the trademark secured by Bitcoin OOO will be worth a bomb if the company decides to monetize it. But that doesn’t seem to be the case so far.

Ref:PlusWorld Image: Bitcoin By Zach Copley

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United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) recently rejected a patent application (Reg 86135516) for the trademark ‘Bitcoin’ filed by Urban Trend LLC, a Californian household product company.

Bitcoin trademark

The motion came to rest as a part of default judgment, when Urban Trend failed to submit an answer to the patent’s opposer Russ Smith, the owner of Atlantic City Bitcoin, LLC and HELP.ORG LLC. In his application, the opposer had described himself as the registered owner of the trademark ‘MILLY BITCOIN’ (Reg 4435599) and had accused Urban Trend of committing a fraud during the application for registration.

“Defendant [Urban Trend LLC] replied to an office action requesting the significance of BITCOIN to the application,” the motion read. “Defendant replied that BITCOIN had no significance. Defendant failed to describe that “BITCOIN” merely describes a characteristic of applicant’s goods. Namely “BITCOIN” referred to the fact that the items would be labeled as logos referring to the Bitcoin currency.”

Russ Smith’s motion further pointed the similarities between his and defendant’s business profiles that will end up creating confusion among customers.

Upon the successful notice of opposition, the PTO office sent directives to both Smith and Urban Trends, attached with a time schedule that asked the latter to submit its response by January 26th, 2015. The defendant however failed to answer any of the accusations mentioned in the lawsuit, despite being aware about it. Smith thereby entered a legal position to request for default judgment, a step that took the case to his desired conclusion.

The trademarking of Bitcoin and related products is not a new thing in the industry. The Bitcoin Foundation has previously reported that there are at least 35 marks alone in the US that contains the word Bitcoin in it. At the same time, the non-official Bitcoin advocacy group also opposed the idea of trademarking the digital currency.

“It is a generic term like the terms used for other currencies such as “dollar”, “euro,” “yen,” etc,” it had stated. “The Foundation is committed to doing what it can to protect the term “BITCOIN” for public use.”