Dfinity Foundation files legal action against Meta over infinity logo

Lawyers for Dfinity Foundation, a Swiss-based nonprofit behind the Internet Computer blockchain, have filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s ...

Lawyers for Dfinity Foundation, a Swiss-based nonprofit behind the Internet Computer blockchain, have filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company, Meta, for trademark infringement on its infinity logo.

In a filing Friday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Dfinity’s legal team claimed that Meta Platforms registered 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 trademark registration. According to the blockchain company, Meta has filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, in March 2022, while the same office granted Dfinity registration in October 2018. Dfinity’s legal team also said the company has been using the infinity symbol on its website since March 2017.

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

“Meta and Dfinity seek to appeal to the same users, namely those who seek an innovative and different Internet experience, created by users, for users,” the lawsuit said, adding:

“Also, Meta and Dfinity use the same marketing channels, so consumers will likely encounter the brands through those same channels. […] Despite Dfinity’s knowledge of the trademark, Meta has chosen to pursue its registration application in some of the same or similar areas in which Dfinity has already obtained registration of its trademark. »

Dfinity’s legal team continued:

“The similarities between the Meta brand and the Dfinity brand, and Meta’s intended use of its brand in the same space and through the same customer base as Dfinity, will cause confusion as consumers will mistakenly believe that Meta and its services are linked to, sponsored by, affiliated with or related to Dfinity, or that Dfinity and its services are linked, sponsored, affiliated or related to Meta.”

According to Dfinity, Meta “knowingly infringed” the company’s trademark based on its USPTO registration and exhibited “a willful and wanton disregard of Dfinity’s established and superior rights.” Lawyers claimed that the confusion over similar logos has already caused Dfinity to lose revenue, and the company will continue to do so and potentially suffer “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 unlawful action and has no adequate remedy at law,” the lawsuit said. “Unlike the centralized and closed system of Facebook (now Meta), Dfinity focuses on decentralization and interoperability. Any association between Dfinity and Meta would cause consumers, including users and developers, to question the core mission by Definity.

Dfinity’s legal team sought relief in the form of attorney’s fees based on the alleged infringement of the Meta trademark and “false designation of origin”. Additionally, the company sought punitive damages for 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: A ‘wave of litigation’ will hit the NFT space as copyright issues abound

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