Recently a BitShares copyright infringement occurred when a group of BTS holders launched a fork of the blockchain using the name ‘New BitShares’. Their malicious intentions were aimed at destroying the reputation of the original chain. Prior to ‘New BitShares’ creating their split-fork (a facsimile of BitShares core), Binance reported contact by the same group – with a request to migrate the BitShares gateway to their own software release. Had the attempt succeeded, it would have incorrectly replaced the original (official) software from BitShares GitHub repository. Luckily with the help of other (reasonable) holders, technical side of BitShares development, legal, and Binance themselves undertaking great diligence, this attempt was just an attempt!

All the same, in light of ‘New BitShares’ still running as a blockchain project under copyright infringements, we bring this notice publicly on request of the trademark owner and BitShares.org domain holder Move Institute (non-profit, Slovenia).

No permission was sought in using the trademark, neither was the project endorsed by any BitShares founding or core members. On the contrary, `New BitShares` is launched as a supposed “fix” for broken consensus on original BitShares, when it’s in reality (and law) just an illegal refinancing scheme by a group of BTS token holders.

‘New BitShares’ also listed the token on several crypto exchanges with the abbreviated token name $NBS.

BitShares trademark violations are illegal by rule of law in Europe and beyond, as defined by the EUIPO listing. As such, ‘New BitShares’ exists and was started as an intentional copyright infringement and attack to the brand `BitShares`.

Additionally, EUIPO is legally binding by several bilateral and cooperation intellectual property initiatives in other non-EU countries.

euipo website
See the EUIPO website for more info

Move Institute will be in contact directly with the businesses concerned. Listed below (for reference only) are the affected exchanges and domains/websites.

Legal course of actions

Exchanges

By listing NBS token under the name ‘New BitShares’, exchanges will be notified of the BitShares trademark violations. As registered businesses, they will receive formal notice by email/fax and legally binding notices to this effect. As per Coinmarketcap list includes Binance, MXC, Huobi, BigOne, Biki, ZB.com, ZBG, WazirX, and few others.

Domains

Domain owners and their respective registrars – for websites falsely representing BitShares. The owners will also be contacted for unlawful use falling under Intellectual Property, and additionally ICANN violations in general. Most importantly, this applies to any locations the website is accessible from covered by EUIPO or it’s mutual agreements. In other words, enforceable by law beyond just Europe).

Domains include newbitshares.org (intentional copyright infringement, SEC violation of initial offering through airdrop, no legal, spreading miss-information about Brand), dpos.club (posts removal), btsgh.com (intentional copyright infringement, spreading miss-information about Brand), and nbs.plus (intentional copyright infringement,spreading miss-information about Brand)

Additional SEC related concern: newbitshares.org as legal representative of the blockchain project should be by nature owned by non-profit company/organization. In the past, bitshares.org as originally given to APAsia Tech Co., LTD. For the same reason it was moved to Move Institute as non-profit legal representative. In case of `New BitShares` project and website newbitshares.org – owner registered is for-profit Beijing Monelolita Clothing Co., Ltd. Not even related to IT – far from the crypto industry.

All related accounts and IP’s are collected from public forums for further legal actions if necessary.

Conclusion

BitShares blockchain and software derivatives around/from it, are open source software. In addition to other features, anyone can create and name a cryptographic token or even replicate the entire technology platform. However clear rules and laws outline global usage of trademarks, clearly saying that you can’t “clone” the actual Brand of “BitShares”. (Or any trademark brand in general). As a result, general international business law and common sense tells us it is fraudulent to knowingly use a registered trademark without permission. Thus all legal, trademark, copyright or other types of practicalities are also entirely the responsibility of the issuer/user. Move Institute, (Slovenia) are managing BitShares trademark violations.

Example of definitions of trademarks in Cryptocurrency for general interest. Compared to the classes and submission of the BitShares trademark, are one class away and one class advanced for filling as a US/International trademark:

Useful Notes

Links relating to history of crypto brands (particularly Bitcoin and several include reference or naming BitShares)

  • Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
    (2008), https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf.
  • Timothy B. Lee, Five Years of Bitcoin in One Post, Wash.
    Post (Jan. 3, 2014), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/
    the-switch/wp/2014/01/03/five-years-of-bitcoin-in-onepost/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6817b4c07500.
  • Coin Market Cap, https://coinmarketcap.com/all/views/all (last visited
    Apr. 9, 2019).
  • Prableen Bajpai, The 10 Most Important Cryptocurrencies Other
    Than Bitcoin, Investopedia (updated Feb. 9, 2019), https://www.
    investopedia.com/tech/most-important-cryptocurrencies-other-thanbitcoin.
  • See supra note 3.
  • 15 U.S.C. § 1127.
  • See Alibaba Grp. Holding Ltd. v. Alibabacoin Found., No. 18-CV2897 (JPO), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72282, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 30,
    2018) (“Alibabacoin fails to explain why its three initial coin offerings
    do not constitute the sale in commerce of a ‘good’ bearing Alibaba’s
    trademark.”).
  • Indeed, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) determined
    “Bitcoin” was a generic term for e-commerce services. See, e.g.,
    U.S.P.T.O. February 29, 2016 Office Action issued against Application
    Ser. No. 79/182,945 for BITCOIN covering various e-commerce
    services: “In addition to being merely descriptive, the applied-for
    mark appears to be generic in connection with the identified services
    and, therefore, incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for
    applicant’s services.”
  • 15 U.S.C. §§ 1057(b)-(c).
  • 15 U.S.C. §§ 1072, 1111, 1114, 1117, & 1121; 28 U.S.C. § 1338.
  • 15 U.S.C. §§ 44, 66.
  • 15 U.S.C. § 1051.
  • Id. at §§ 1051(a)(2) & (b)(2).
  • U.S.P.T.O. Trademark Electronic Search System, http://tmsearch.
    uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4810:80yg17.1.1 (search for
    “cryptocurrency” in goods/services description for live marks, as of
    Apr. 9, 2019).
  • U.S.P.T.O. Trademark Manual, https://tmidm.uspto.gov/id-masterlist-public.html (last visited Apr. 9, 2019).
  • U.S.P.T.O. Trademark Electronic Search System, http://tmsearch.
    uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4810:80yg17.1.1 (search for
    “cryptocurrency” in goods/services description for live marks in Class
    36, as of Apr. 9, 2019).
  • See Omnicoin, https://omnicoin.net (last visited Dec. 21, 2018)
    (“OmniCoin is the token of OmniBazaar marketplace. OmniBazaar is
    a new type of e-commerce marketplace that removes the middlemen
    and bankers from e-commerce. OmniBazaar uses a patented ‘peerto-peer-to-peer’ architecture to remove the middlemen. It uses
    cryptocurrencies to eliminate the bankers. OmniBazaar fees are up
    to 100 percent lower than those of existing e-commerce sites like
    eBay and Amazon.”).
  • See Concoin, Cryptoslate, https://cryptoslate.com/coins/concoin
    (last visited Dec. 21, 2018) (“ConCoin was created to meet the needs
    of over 6 million prison inmates throughout the state and federal
    prison system. ConCoin is a means for inmates to trade for anything
    of value within the prison walls.”).
  • See Pricing, QuiGig, https://www.quigig.com/pricing (last visited
    Dec. 21, 2018) (“Quigs are the essential platform currency used to
    perform actions on our site.”).
  • U.S.P.T.O. Trademark Electronic Search System, http://tmsearch.
    uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4810:80yg17.1.1 (search for
    “cryptocurrency, namely” in goods/services description for live
    marks, as of Apr. 9, 2019).
  • 15 U.S.C. § 1114.
  • Bloomberg Law, Docket Search Results for cases with
    “Cryptocurrency” in the complaint, asserting trademark
    infringement, as of Apr. 9, 2019.
  • Telegram Messenger Inc v. Lantah LLC, 3-18-cv-02811 (N.D.
    Cal.), Dkt. 1 (May 11, 2018), Dkt. 40 (Aug. 8, 2018).
  • Telegram Messenger, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133908, at *15.
  • Alibaba Grp. Holding Ltd. v. Alibabacoin Found., 1:18-cv-02897-
    JPO (S.D.N.Y.), Dkt. 1 (Apr. 2, 2018), Dkt. 84 (June 8, 2018).
  • Id. at Dkt. 137 (Oct. 22, 2018), Dkt. 140 (Nov. 7, 2018).
  • Alibaba Grp. Holding Ltd. v. Alibabacoin Found., No. 18-CV2897 (JPO), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180884, at *17 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 22,
    2018).
  • Id. at *17-19; see also Alibaba Grp. Holding Ltd. v. Alibabacoin
    Found., No. 18-CV-2897 (JPO), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190752, at *3
    (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 7, 2018) (denying motion to dismiss).
  • Alibaba Grp., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180884, at *16.
  • West v. McEnery, 1:14-cv-00250-AT (S.D.N.Y.), Dkt. 90 (Aug. 20,
    2014).
  • Universa Inv. L.P. v. Borodich, No. 18-cv-24286- GAYLES\
    OTAZO-REYES (S.D. Fla.), Dkt. 20 (Feb. 26, 2019).
  • See, e.g., BellSouth Corp. v. DataNational Corp., 60 F.3d 1565,
    1570 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (“A descriptive term … may become generic
    over time through common usage if the otherwise non-descriptive
    term is not policed as a trademark and it is commonly used to
    describe a type of product”); In re Empire Tech. Dev. LLC, 123
    U.S.P.Q.2d 1544, 1565 (T.T.A.B. 2017) (“Applicant’s failure to police
    these generic uses of its proposed mark undercuts its claim that
    the relevant purchasing public will understand COFFEE FLOUR to
    be anything other than the generic term for flour made from coffee
    cherries.”).

    Source for the examples within the US

Fraud Awareness

If you’re concerned for any social media accounts, companies, brands or even individuals claiming to be ‘from BitShares’, or otherwise utilizing the ‘BitShares’ name or logo that doesn’t appear endorsed, please contact us.