JRR Token, a cryptocurrency denominated with exceptional similarity to the legendary writer J.R.R. Tolkien’s trademark, has been banned by the author’s legal body.
Lawyers of the Tolkien Estate, the legal body which manages the property and the copyright for most of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, argued that the cryptocurrency infringed the trademark of the English writer, who achieved fame with his fantasy novel The Hobbit and his inventive epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings.
The Tolkien Estate has settled with JRR Token developer Matthew Jensen, who has paid an undisclosed sum for the body’s legal costs.
“The Tolkien estate is vigilant in preventing unauthorised parties from taking advantage of the JRR Tolkien name and the content of JRR Tolkien’s literary works,” Steven Maier, solicitor for the Tolkien estate, said.
The estate has also successfully recovered the domain name “jrrtoken.com,” according to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, which shows that the complaint was filed on August 7.
WIPO ruled that the disputed domain name is “identical or confusingly similar to a trademark,” and has been registered and used in “bad faith.” Following the ruling, Jensen replaced the domain name with “thetokenofpower.com.”
However, the Tolkien Estate argued that the refined website still included pictures indicative of the author’s works, including images of rings, Hobbit homes, similar mottos, and a wizard with a remarkable resemblance to Gandalf, a protagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels.
On the other hand, Jensen’s lawyers contended that the domain can be distinguished from the Tolkien estate’s trademarked ‘JRR Tolkien’ due to “the clear difference in meaning and commercial impression,” as well as the difference in visual appearance of the marks.
“Specifically, the Complainant’s J R R TOLKIEN trademark contains the additional letters “L” and “I” which are conspicuously absent from the disputed domain name. The pronunciation is also different,” Jensen’s lawyers said.
In late October, a cryptocurrency seemingly representing the hit Netflix show Squid Game started getting the attention of the mainstream, rising by over 45,000% in a matter of days. However, the cryptocurrency, which was promoted as a play-to-earn token, crashed to near zero in an alleged rug pull.