Business

The Dfinity Foundation files a lawsuit against Meta over the Infinity logo

blank

Lawyers for the Dfinity Foundation, a Switzerland-based nonprofit behind the Internet computer blockchain, have filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta for trademark infringement over its Infinity logo.

In a Friday court filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Dfinity’s legal team claimed that Meta Platforms had registered the use of its logo, which also uses the mathematical symbol for the concept of infinity, “in some of the same or similar areas , where Dfinity has already obtained registration for its trademark.” According to the blockchain firm, Meta filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March 2022, while the same office granted Dfinity’s registration in October 2018 . Dfinity’s legal team also said the company had been using the infinity symbol on its website since March 2017.

While many experts credit mathematician John Wallis with first using the “loony” symbol to represent the concept of infinity in the 17th century, the design may predate this usage by centuries. Dfinity’s lawsuit appeared not to be based on Meta’s infinity symbol logo itself, but rather on registering a trademark for use in areas offering similar goods and services, including computer software using blockchain technology.

“Meta and Dfinity are trying to attract the same users, namely those who are looking for an innovative and different internet experience, created by users for users,” the lawsuit states, adding:

“In addition, both Meta and Dfinity use the same marketing channels, so consumers will likely encounter the brands through the same channels […] Despite knowledge of Dfinity’s trademark, Meta decided to proceed with its application to obtain registration in some of the same or similar areas where Dfinity has already obtained registration for its trademark.”

Dfinity’s legal team continued:

“The similarities between Meta’s trademark and Dfinity’s trademark and Meta’s intended use of its trademark in the same space and by the same customer base as Dfinity will create confusion as consumers will mistakenly believe that Meta and its services are affiliated with, sponsored by , is affiliated with or associated with Dfinity, or that Dfinity and its Services are affiliated with, sponsored by, affiliated with or associated with Meta.”

According to Dfinity, Meta “knowingly infringes” the company’s trademark based on its registration with the USPTO and demonstrated “willful and willful disregard for Dfinity’s established and overriding rights.” The lawyers claimed that the confusion surrounding the similar logos has already caused Dfinity to lose revenue, and the firm will continue to do so, possibly suffering “reputational damage” as long as the alleged discrepancy persists.

“Dfinity has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm as a result of Meta’s wrongful conduct and has no adequate remedy,” the lawsuit reads. “Unlike the centralized, closed system of Facebook (now Meta), Dfinity’s focus is on decentralization and interoperability. Any connection between Dfinity and Meta would lead consumers, including users and developers, to question Dfinity’s core purpose.”

Dfinity’s legal team has sought relief in the form of attorneys’ fees over Meta’s alleged trademark infringement and “false indication of origin.” In addition, the company is seeking punitive damages related to the potential confusion “as to the source, origin, sponsorship and association” of Meta’s products and services. The blockchain firm has requested a jury trial.

Related: ‘Ligation wave’ hits the NFT space as copyright issues abound

Legal issues related to copyrights and trademarks have cropped up in the crypto space since its inception in 2008. In June 2020, someone anonymously registered the Bitcoin (BTC) name and logo with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, claiming they wanted to “protect Bitcoin.” A team of lawyers representing fast-food chain Jack in the Box also filed a lawsuit against FTX US in November 2021 based on alleged similarities between his “Jack” character and the crypto exchange’s “Moon Man.” .