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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