September 24, 2023

Nanolabs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Nano, is suing Coinbase for alleged trademark infringement and wants the court to restrain the exchange from using the brand name “Nano” and all related trademarks.

Nanolabs Lawsuit Details

document filed Nanolabs shows in California Northern District Court on February 24 that it is unhappy that Coinbase has launched two derivatives contracts labeled “nano” for bitcoin and ethereum.

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In their argument, “Nano” is a brand for which they hold the trademark rights. NanoLabs has been the rightful owner of the Nano brand in the United States since early 2018.

Nano price on 27 February. Source: NANOUSD on Kraken, TradingView

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The two derivative products tag the brand name “Nano,” but are linked to bitcoin and ethereum, two of the most popular cryptocurrencies that are competitors to Nano.

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The problem, NanoLabs explains, is that Coinbase targets holders of bitcoin and ethereum, not Nano. This is the case even if they are the true owners of the Nano brand name. These products, they add, may confuse NANO holders and its global community as there are no disclosures to help differentiate between the two assets or educate customers on Coinbase’s derivatives products.

That Coinbase has caused “irreparable” harm by trading Nano bitcoin and ether futures contracts without consulting Nano, which has affected them financially, undermined their brand.

An extract from the court filing read:

Defendants are not affiliated with Plaintiff in any way, have used the NANO Marks without authorization, without Plaintiff’s consent, and therefore Plaintiffs’ potential economic harm as a result of their dealings with retail brokers, clearing firms, as well as digital currency exchanges profits have interfered. Infringing on the rights of the plaintiff.

Nano is a brand, seeks $5 million in damages

Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, launched Nano bitcoin and ether derivative futures contracts last year. The objective, according to their circular, was to offer derivative products to customers in the United States of America. Notably, both were issued after Coinbase acquisition of FairX, a derivatives exchange regulated by the Commodity Futures Exchange Commission (CFTC).

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Prior to the launch of these products, Nanolabs stated that Coinbase was fully aware of Nano’s existence as Coinbase rejected their application to list Nano on the centralized exchange.

Nanolabs is seeking at least $5 million in damages for damages and brand dilution. In addition, they want Coinbase to forfeit all profits derived from its use of the Nano brand, Coinbase’s corrective advertising, and the destruction of materials that infringe on Nano’s trademarks.

Feature image from Canva, chart from TradingView