Tibanne KK, the parent company of the now-bankrupt Japan-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, is currently searching for investors to buy the company’s trademark rights to the word “Bitcoin”. According to Tibanne KK, they acquired the trademark in 2011 and the rights to associated protections are not set to expire until 2021 in the EU and in 2022 in Japan.
Tibanne is also selling its Bitcoin-related domain names in a package it hopes will net at least 1 million dollars so they repay creditors. An executive from Tibanne told that the company simply wasn’t using the domains anymore, mainly because the the Mt. Gox debacle.
Now let’s put it into perspective. Tibanne KK wants to sell off the Bitcoin trademark. Now would potential buyers, and even Tibanne KK for that matter, enforce the trademark rights on the world and on the internet?
They can’t since it’s a general term that is used by everyone. General terms aren’t viable to the “trademark” or “intellectual property claims”. It’s like filing a claim for “pants” or “shoes” or “dollars”.
Everyone has it and uses it. How in the Laufy’s shaggy Y-pants is any company going to “police” the trademark rights on that? They can’t and that is why all countries use common sense when dealing with patents approvals.
Another huge problem that Tibanne KK is facing is the claim of “intellectual property”. Tibanne was not the originator of the term, anyone who subsequently purchases it would have to prove that the word hadn’t entered general usage prior to time the trademark was acquired.
The word first appeared in 2009 in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper. Thus it stands to reason that Satoshi Nakamoto is the “inventor” or Bitcoin and if he filed for a patent or trademark on the word Bitcoin under the intellectual property claim in 2009, he would have received it.
Another problem is that Tibanne was granted the Bitcoin trademark in 2011 and not 2009. The fact that Bitcoin hasn’t surfaced on the Japanese government radar can be an explanation on the how and why Tibanne received the “Bitcoin trademark”. However it will be highly unlikely that Tibanne will be victorious in his sale.