Dfinity Foundation files lawsuit against Meta over infinity logo

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

In a court filing Friday before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Dfinity’s legal team claimed that Meta Platforms was trademarking the 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 firm, Meta filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, in March 2022, while the same office granted Dfinity’s registration in October 2018. Dfinity’s legal team also said the company had 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 that use. Dfinity’s lawsuit appeared to be based not on Meta’s logo using the infinity symbol itself, but on filing a trademark for use in fields offering similar goods and services, including computer software incorporating the blockchain technology.

“Meta and Dfinity seek to attract the same users, that is, those who are looking for an innovative and different Internet experience, created by users, for users,” the suit says, adding:

“Also, both Meta and Dfinity use the same marketing channels, so consumers are likely to find the brands through those same channels. […] Despite Dfinity’s brand awareness, Meta chose to proceed with its application to obtain registration in some of the same or similar areas where Dfinity has already obtained its trademark registration.”

The Dfinity legal team continued:

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

According to Dfinity, Meta “knowingly infringed” on the company’s trademark based on its registration with the USPTO and exhibited a “willful and wanton disregard for Dfinity’s superior and established rights.” The lawyers claimed that the confusion surrounding the similar logos had already caused Dfinity to lose revenue, and the firm will continue to do so and possibly 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 illegal action and has no adequate legal recourse,” the suit says. “Unlike the closed and centralized system of Facebook (now Meta), Dfinity’s focus is on decentralization and interoperability. Any partnership between Dfinity and Meta would cause consumers, including users and developers, to question Dfinity’s core mission.”

Dfinity’s legal team sought relief in the form of attorneys’ fees based on Meta’s alleged trademark infringement and “false designation of origin.” In addition, the firm sought punitive damages around possible confusion “as to the source, origin, sponsorship, and association” of Meta’s products and services. The blockchain firm has requested a jury trial.

Related: ‘Wave of litigation’ to hit the NFT space as copyright issues abound

Legal issues related to copyrights and trademarks have arisen in the crypto space since its inception in 2008. In June 2020, someone anonymously registered the Bitcoin (BTC) name and logo with the Spanish Patent Office. and Marcas claiming that he 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 its “Jack” character and the cryptocurrency exchange’s “Moon Man.”