Tolkien News

The Tolkien Estate took legal action to stop the development of a new cryptocur­rency called “JRR Token.” The cryptocurrency was launched in August 2021 with the slogan “The One Token That Rules Them All”, along with a commercial featuring actor Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in the Lord of the Rings films. The cur­rency’s creator said, “Saruman was trying to unify Middle Earth under centralised rule whereas the fellowship wanted decentralisation. Cryptocurrency is literally a decentralised network.” The Tolkien estate approached the World Intellectual Property Organization and said the product infringed their trademarks, while the developer said the name was parody. The arbitrator disagreed: “The respondent does not specify why the disputed domain name is humorous, funny or nail-biting, and not just a domain name chosen due to its similarities with the [estate’s] trademarks to take commercial ad­vantage of its evocation.” The Tolkien estate won, and received the domain name. The cryptocurrency developer has to stop using the name and delete everything they’ve posted online; they also had to pay the estate’s legal costs.

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyThis article and more like it in the January 2022 issue of Locus.

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