In a pivotal decision, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has declined the Dogecoin Foundation, Inc.’s application to trademark a design of a gold circular medallion featuring the iconic Shiba Inu dog and the letter “D”. This decision, which could set a legal precedent, is seen as a reinforcement of the decentralized ethos of the cryptocurrency.
Dogecoin Foundation Gets Trademark Denied
The Dogecoin Foundation had sought to register the mark for a range of services, including educational conferences in blockchain technology and software development services. However, the USPTO denied the trademark application.
The USPTO’s refusal, detailed in an official letter, cites multiple grounds. The primary refusal is based on the assertion that the applied-for mark is “generic for the applicant’s services”. The USPTO states: “generic terms cannot be rescued by proof of distinctiveness or secondary meaning no matter how voluminous the proffered evidence may be.” This means that even if a term or symbol has achieved widespread recognition, it cannot be trademarked if it’s deemed generic.
Descriptive Nature: The USPTO also maintained its position that the applied-for mark is “merely descriptive” of the applicant’s services. The application’s scope covered a broad range of services, from educational conferences in blockchain technology to software development in distributed computing platforms. The mark, in the USPTO’s view, simply describes the services rather than distinguishing them.
Failure To Function: Another significant ground for refusal is that the applied-for mark is a universal symbol that does not function as a trademark or service mark. The USPTO argues that the mark would be perceived by consumers as merely conveying information about the services rather than acting as a unique identifier of the source.
Evidence Of Acquired Distinctiveness: The Dogecoin Foundation, Inc. provided evidence, including a declaration by its president and a claim of acquired distinctiveness based on five or more years’ use. However, the USPTO found this evidence insufficient, especially given the highly descriptive nature of the mark Dogecoin. The USPTO emphasized that a more descriptive term requires more substantial evidence to prove acquired distinctiveness.
Comparison With Other Cryptocurrencies: The Dogecoin Foundation tried to draw parallels with the Ethereum cryptocurrency, arguing that the existence of Ethereum as a registered mark undermines the USPTO’s stance. However, the USPTO highlighted that the Dogecoin cryptocurrency did not have a consistent owner from its inception, differentiating it from Ethereum.
DOGE Community Reacts
The cryptocurrency community, especially Dogecoin enthusiasts, have generally lauded the decision. The sentiment is that the refusal maintains the decentralized nature of Dogecoin, preventing any single entity from claiming exclusive rights to its symbols.
Prominent Dogecoin community members have expressed their approval on social media. @RichDevX celebrated the examiner’s detailed response, while @mishaboar noted the examiner’s careful consideration of Dogecoin’s history.
However, it’s crucial to understand that the USPTO’s decision is not final. The Dogecoin Foundation, Inc. has the option to respond to the refusals and provide further evidence or arguments in support of registration. The ruling is still subject to future assessments and potential legal challenges.
At press time, DOGE traded at $0.0638, sandwiched between the 20-EMA and 50-EMA in the 4-hour chart.
Featured image from iStock, chart from TradingView.com