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Julie Tolek Writes on Crypto and Common Trademark Traps for IPWatchdog

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In the News | The Wall Street Journal Quotes Julie Tolek
May 9, 2022

IPWatchdog: Julie Tolek Writes on Crypto and Common Trademark Traps

 

Caldwell IP’s Trademark Attorney, Julie Tolek,  discusses common trademark traps in relation to Cryptocurrency’s dividend payments and increased prevalence in IPWatchdog.

 

IPWatchdog Excerpt:

Of course, for this cryptocurrency leader, it was not enough to be the first to offer the option of receiving dividends by bitcoin. In an attempt to harness the power of intellectually property, BTCS is calling their bitcoin dividend, “Bividend,” and has filed a trademark on what they hope to be a fanciful, or perhaps at least suggestive, mark…

To the untrained eye, these statements are harmless. To the trained eye of a trademark expert, it is clear that BTCS is already falling victim to one of the oldest and worst trademark mistakes. If you refer to your mark as a noun the mark becomes generic and, therefore, loses the ability to signify source, which means it ceases to be a trademark. So, BTCS’ reference to “the Bividend” is a terrible mistake. The proper use, although clumsy, would be “the Bividend dividend”. Many readers will be familiar with the example of Johnson & Johnson always carefully referring to Bandaid® brand bandages to prevent this very problem.

In any event, other companies also see the value in adapting to what current and future generations of employees look for in a workplace. NYDIG, a leading bitcoin company, announced on February 1, 2022, the launch of its Bitcoin Savings Plan to let employees of leading companies get #PaidInBitcoin, which would allow the employee to convert a portion of their paycheck to bitcoin.

Crypto options are penetrating our daily lives in other ways. Marketplace giants such as Microsoft and Overstock have been accepting Bitcoin on their online stores since 2014, and Home Depot began accepting Bitcoin in stores in 2019. In March 2022, a town in Arizona started taking Paypal-held Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin for water payments.

 

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