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Crypto ‘Gram’ use sparks trade mark infringement battle

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 16 May 2018

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With the use and interest in cryptocurrencies growing dramatically over the past year, it is no surprise that everyone wants to jump on the band wagon.

This does not include the buying and selling of the popular cryptocurrencies, but also the setting up of other smaller cryptocurrencies or sites on which the currencies can be sold.

As brand protection is so important for businesses, there has been some trade mark disputes arising.

The latest trade mark dispute involves Telegram Messenger who are a UK based messenger service.

The Telegram Messenger was set up by Telegram Group, who were founded in 2013. Their goal was to develop online products and services using encrypted technology.

In addition to the Telegram Messenger App, they also are the owner of a trade mark in the US for ‘Gram’ which is used in relation to the company’s financial products and services relating to cryptocurrencies.

In 2017, Telegram Group launched the Telegram Open Network which was used to produce a fully scalable blockchain to add stability and bring speed into the cryptocurrency process. The ‘Gram’ mark was used directly in connection with this.

Around this time US Blockchain company, Lantah filed an intent to use trade mark application for the word ‘Gram’, for use in respect of financial services relating to cryptocurrencies.

Following this application, Lantah launched a coin offering service under the ‘Gram’ name.

Telegram Group then filed an application for an injunction against the use of the ‘Gram’ by Lantah. The claim states that there is inevitable likelihood of confusion and the continued use will cause damage to Telegram Group’s goodwill and reputation.

In addition, the claim highlights that due to the nature of cryptocurrencies, the confusion will be heightened.

It will be interesting to see how this case pans out, as it may have a ripple effect on brand protection of other cryptos.

For more information on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, please contact our Dr Michael Coyle

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Ellis Sweetenham quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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