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Spanish court upholds Bitcoin trade mark in public domain

Post Time:2024-06-18 Source:ec.europa.eu Author: Views:

On 20 May, the Commercial Court No. 2 of Bilbao, Spain, annulled the Spanish trade mark "bitcoin", which reproduces the logo commonly used to identify bitcoin.

In 2019, Eduardo Pérez, an entrepreneur specialised in buying and selling cryptocurrencies, registered the figurative mark No.4046141, "bitcoin" consisting of the “bitcoin” word alongside the well-known Bitcoin logo, with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) for Class 35 of the Nice Classification, which includes services such as advertising, commercial management and commercial administration.

The dispute began when Mr Pérez sued the Spanish company BITCOINFORME S.L for launching an advertising campaign in Madrid and Barcelona using a sign similar to the one he had registered. The company placed its bit2Me figurative mark (consisting of the words “bit” and “me” before and after the number 2 placed within a circle) on products, packaging, business documents, advertising and communication networks.

In its defence, the Spanish company filed a counterclaim to annul the Spanish figurative mark "bitcoin" claiming that Mr Pérez’s trade mark consisted of elements which were either originally created and published under a Creative Commons licence in November 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper or had been made and published by others on the forum bitcointalk.org.

The Spanish court upheld bit2me's counterclaim and annulled the "bitcoin" mark on the grounds that it had been registered in bad faith and infringed the intellectual property rights associated with the creation and licensing of the bitcoin logo. In itsdecision, the court noted that the creator of the logo had licensed it to the community for free and unrestricted use, which prevented a member from taking ownership of the logo for commercial purposes. In addition, the court pointed out that the Creative Commons licence attached to the first publication of the logo made it a copyright work, so that the free use of the logo did not allow for its appropriation or restriction, such as trade mark registration, as "public domain" is opposed to "private property".