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Middle Earth strikes back as patent tribunal blocks ‘J.R.R. Token’ crypto

November 23, 2021, 1:27 PM UTC

Call it a victory for Middle Earth. A Florida man who tried to create a cryptocurrency token that riffed off the name and imagery of “Lord of the of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien has been roundly defeated by a patent tribunal. 

Jrrtoken.com, the disputed domain name set up by Matthew Jensen for commercial gain, 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 ruled. It 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 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. 

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