Friday, September 30

The heirs of JRR Tolkien take down the ‘fake’ cryptocurrency of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

“My treasure”. That’s what you must have thought Matthew Jensen when he launched the website in August. But the treasure has lasted little in his hands. In full boom of cryptocurrencies (called in English token, tokens), this Florida businessman created the aforementioned domain -in an obvious nod to JRR Tolkien, the creator of the saga of The Lord of the rings-, to market a new virtual currency. The motto? “One coin to rule them all”, following in the footsteps of the British writer’s books.

The project to promote a virtual currency inspired by the environment of Middle Earth (the setting where the fiction takes place) has been stopped short by the authorities dedicated to trademark registrations. The heirs of JRR Tolkien have managed to get the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an institution based in Geneva, to decree the immediate closure of the website, for having tried to use Tolkien’s creations without authorization.

It wasn’t just the name, the website showed rings, hobbit houses and a wizard with an uncanny resemblance to Gandalf, in an obvious attempt to use all the imagery linked to The Lord of the rings, a literary saga that Peter Jackson brought to the cinema, in one of the most successful trilogies in history.

The lawyers of Matthew Jensen, the developer of JRR Token, argued before WIPO that “token” was a generic term, and that it should not be confused with the Tolkien surname, so they were not violating any intellectual property regulations.

However, the committee that assessed the case considered that “there is no doubt that the defendant knew the works of Tolkien’s works and created a website to take advantage of the fame of these works.”