Lightning Labs and Tari Labs agree to halt Taro protocol development

In March 2021, Bitcoin software firm Lightning Labs and blockchain startup Tari Labs agreed to halt the development of Lightning’s Taro protocol, after a temporary restraining order was converted into a preliminary injunction by the courts. The decision was made after Tari Labs claimed that the name Taro infringed on its trademark rights, as it was too similar to its own protocol named Tari, which is a registered trademark in the United States.

The temporary restraining order was initially issued on March 13, 2021, by California District Court Judge William Orrick, and prevented Lightning Labs from making any updates or announcements regarding the Taro protocol. The court’s decision to convert the order into a preliminary injunction now means that the development of the protocol will be halted until a court decision is reached.

As part of the agreement, Lightning Labs cannot make any updates to the Taro protocol or merge internal updates with the protocol’s public-facing open-source code. It is also not allowed to announce or launch any milestones of the protocol. However, Lightning Labs is permitted to respond to communications from non-Lightning developers and users, as long as it does not use those communications to further Taro’s development.

Lightning Labs can still reference Taro as the “prior name of the protocol” for announcements pertaining to changing the protocol’s name, as long as it is not “confusingly similar” to Taro or Tari. Tari Labs had first filed a complaint for trademark infringement against Lightning Labs in December 2020, alleging that both firms “compete in the same digital blockchain ecosystem” and provide similar, “in some cases identical,” services.

The Taro protocol is an ambitious project that was announced by Lightning Labs on April 5, 2021, amid a $70 million funding round. It aims to build upon Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade and allow stablecoins to be transferred via the Lightning Network, a Layer 2 solution for the Bitcoin blockchain that enables faster and cheaper transactions than those executed on the base layer.

The news of the temporary restraining order being converted to a preliminary injunction prompted a backlash on Twitter, with Tari Labs co-founder Riccardo Spagni defending the lawsuit, arguing that the letters “I” and “O” are close enough together on a computer keyboard to cause confusion. He also mentioned that Tari had offered to fund Taro’s rebrand a year ago. Tari co-founder Naveen Jain also defended the lawsuit, suggesting that it is “hard to call something ‘frivolous’ when a judge issues a temporary restraining order in your favor.”


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Jimmy Fallon Fights Subpoena in NFT Legal Battle

The current litigation between Yuga Laboratories Inc. and Ripps et al. has brought attention to the intellectual property and trademark rights that are associated with the NFT industry. In a separate case involving Yuga Laboratories and securities fraud, Fallon is a co-defendant with Paris Hilton. During his program, Fallon disclosed that he had purchased a non-fungible token (NFT) issued by the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Notwithstanding this, Fallon’s legal team asserts that their client is not a party to the lawsuit involving Yuga Laboratories and Ripps and has nothing to do with the aforementioned case.

Collectors now have a new option to acquire rare pictures in NFT format as a result of a cooperation between Getty Images and Candy Digital. Beginning on March 21, customers will be able to make purchases of the NFTs on Candy Digital’s website. Prices for the NFTs will range anywhere from $25 to $200. The United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Japan are just some of the locations where consumers will be able to purchase the new release.

With the purpose of providing real-time insights into the digital asset ecosystem, Forkast Labs has introduced a number of NFT indexes, one of which is the Forkast 500 NFT index, which evaluates the performance of digital assets on 21 different blockchains. These indexes attempt to give a more complete measure of the health of the NFT economy, which is difficult to determine using standard market rankings based on prices, sales, and transaction volumes. These indices aim to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the health of the NFT economy.

The trade volume on the NFT market surpassed $2.04 billion in February, representing a 117% increase from January’s figure of $941 million, indicating that the sector is expanding. Its expansion is attributable to Blur, a developing market that just overtook OpenSea in trade volume. This month alone, Blur eclipsed OpenSea. Even while there are indications that a positive trend is developing in the market, the NFT area is still in the process of evolving, with new possibilities and legal conflicts forming.


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NanoLabs sues Coinbase over Nano trademark infringement

NanoLabs, the company behind digital currency Nano, has filed a legal complaint against Coinbase, a leading crypto exchange, for alleged trademark infringement. According to the complaint filed on February 24, 2023, in the California Northern District Court, NanoLabs has accused Coinbase’s Nano Bitcoin futures contract and Nano Ether futures contract products of infringing on its trademark rights.

NanoLabs claims that Coinbase’s offerings are “derivative products” based on Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), which are “identical or highly similar” to Nano. It also alleges that Coinbase targets the same type of consumers as NanoLabs, and the trademarks for Coinbase’s products are “identical, and confusingly similar,” to NanoLabs. Additionally, NanoLabs claims that Coinbase had full knowledge of the Nano digital currency before launching its products, as evidenced by correspondence between the two companies in 2018.

NanoLabs argues that Coinbase should have known that offering Nano Bitcoin on the Coinbase Derivates Exchange would further consumer confusion, especially since the Nano Digital Currency is not listed on the Coinbase Exchange, and Coinbase provides no disclaimer, distinction, or education to consumers to this point.

The complaint states that Coinbase’s infringement has caused NanoLabs economic detriment and weakened its brand identity, resulting in “actual damage and irreparable harm.” NanoLabs is seeking at least $5 million in damages, corrective advertising from Coinbase, destruction of all materials infringing on the Nano trademark, and forfeiture of all profits Coinbase made using Nano trademarks. NanoLabs has requested a jury trial.

Colin LeMahieu founded the Nano digital currency in 2014 under the name RaiBlocks, and it was later rebranded to Nano on Jan. 31, 2018. Coinbase launched its Nano-branded offerings years later, introducing the Nano Bitcoin futures contract in June and the Nano Ether futures contract in August.

This lawsuit could have significant implications for Coinbase and the broader cryptocurrency industry, as it raises questions about the use of similar or identical trademarks for different digital currencies. It also highlights the importance of intellectual property rights in the rapidly evolving and highly competitive crypto industry.


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