Sometimes, all those who wander are lost. A Florida man who tried to create a cryptocurrency token that riffed off the name and imagery of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien has been roundly defeated by a patent tribunal.
In August, Matthew Jensen set up Jrrtoken.com, saying at the time that “JRR Token was created with a mind to have a stable and sustainable cryptocurrency that could be embraced by adventurous spirits around the World.”
“In lieu of creating 3 crypto-coins for the Elven-kings under the sky, 7 for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, and 9 for mortal men doomed to die, the JRR Token will instead distribute 3% of profits to all coin holders; another 3% to a liquidity pool that 'increases the stability of the token for everyone's benefit'; and another 3% for a designated marketing and charity investment fund,” wrote Thom Dunn in BoingBoing.net in August, reporting on the new NFT.
Alack, it was deemed “confusingly similar” to the trademark owned by the Tolkien estate and infringed its trademarks, a panel from the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ruled recently, and ordered the jrrtoken domain name to be transferred to Tolkien’s estate. “There is no doubt that the respondent was aware of Tolkien’s works and created a website to trade off the fame of these works,” the panel said in its decision.
The disputed website featured images of wizards, including one who looks like Gandalf from The Hobbit, and includes the phrase “The One Token That Rules Them All,” the panel noted.
Jensen also agreed to cease all operations under the disputed name and delete the infringing content from all relevant websites and social media accounts, the Tolkien estate, which famously sued New Line Cinema, the studio behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, for £75 million in 2008, claiming they had not received “even one penny” from the films, said in a statement.
“This was a particularly flagrant case of infringement, and the estate is pleased that it has been concluded on satisfactory terms,” said their U.K. lawyer, Steven Maier.
The law firm representing Jensen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.