By Paul A. Borovay, Associate
Whether you are in the Yeezus camp or the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy camp, or even if either of those references mean nothing to you, you might still be interested to know that a new currency is in development – in a few days we will all be able to own some COINYE WEST. Or will we?
As the Wall Street Journal first reported, Kanye West has tried to stop seven anonymous coders behind a new virtual currency called COINYE WEST, similar to bitcoin. Not surprisingly, Kanye West, by and through his attorneys, has claimed trademark infringement, unfair competition, cyberpiracy and dilution. You can read the cease and desist letter here. While the company has changed its domain name from coinyewest.com to coinyeco.in, the coders launched their site on January 7.
West has built a music empire on his KANYE WEST brand, a brand that, according to West’s interview with BBC Radio 1, is the most influential in the world. As if being the “number one rock star on the planet” was not enough, West’s “I am a God” statement truly makes him a being to reckon with.
While West might be a bit high and mighty (pun intended), he does understand the importance of protecting his brand. This situation highlights the cross section between trademark rights and the new and evolving internet frontier. First it was domain names, then came AdWords, and now crypto currency. While COINYE WEST might face an uphill battle if the case proceeds to court, similar disputes are certain to arise as new technologies develop. At Pattishall, we strive to stay on the forefront of emerging technologies. And, while I may not be in the market for any COINYE in the near future, I will be ready to purchase some KARDASH-CASH if Kim Kardashian ever makes any available.
* * *
Paul A. Borovay is an associate with Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP, a leading intellectual property law firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Pattishall McAuliffe represents both plaintiffs and defendants in trademark, copyright, and unfair competition trials and appeals, and advises its clients on a broad range of domestic and international intellectual property matters, including brand protection, Internet, and e-commerce issues. Paul’s practice focuses on litigation in trademark, media, online gaming and entertainment, advertising, as well as trademark prosecution and counseling.