British Columbia Firm Secures Copyright for ‘Bitcoin’ Term
A company in British Columbia, Canada successfully obtained the trademark for the word ‘Bitcoin,’ an unfamiliar move in the complex cryptocurrency market.
The United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office recently approved A.B.C. IPHoldings South West LLC’s application in December last year to trademark the term in the country.
It is somewhat unclear how the company went through the process and what they plan to do after bagging the trademark for Bitcoin. As of writing, the current relationship between Monopolip Ltd. and the cryptocurrency industry remains quite uncertain as well.
Industry players are wondering how the approved trademark filing will affect the cryptocurrency world. Whist most people and companies believe it won’t lead to any major change in the virtual currency market, a Reddit user pointed out it received a cease and desist letter for selling Bitcoin-themed t-shirts. The majority of the Reddit user’s t-shirts bear Bitcoin-related designs; hence, it raises an issue.
The entire industry recognizes the challenges in enforcing this trademark outside the United Kingdom. Implementing the order within the country’s borders, however, is another story.
Noting these difficulties and the issue raised by the Bitcoin t-shirt maker, based in Britain, some legal gray areas need to be explored.
The approval appears to be the first successful copyright using the name ‘Bitcoin’ as a few attempts at trademarking the term in other countries bear no fruit.
In March 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) denied Urban Trend’s application to secure the trademark for the same term. A year later, Russia’s Rospatent rejected Moscow-based M-Group’s attempts to copyright the ‘Bitcoin’ name.
The Bitcoin Foundation once said this term should not be considered an intellectual property of any person or company.
“Rather, it is a generic term like the terms used for other currencies such as dollar, euro, yen, etc. The Foundation is committed to doing what it can to protect the term “Bitcoin” for public use,” the institution added.
Still, the industry expects more entities to try trademarking the ‘Bitcoin’ name, noting the huge popularity of cryptocurrencies. Using different methods to become wealthy is anticipated, but filing a trademark application is quite an effort on their part.