Jack Dorsey’s Block Sues Bitcoin.com for Trademark Infringement

Digital payments company Block Inc. is pursuing Roger Ver’s lawsuit against Bitcoin.com over alleged trademark infringement related to its newly launched Verse token, which had a $33.6 million private sale in May 2022 .

In a letter addressed to Bitcoin.com CEO Dennis Jarvis and the company’s legal counsel, Joseph Collement, lawyers representing Block argued that Bitcoin.com’s use of “Verse” constituted trademark infringement under German trademark law. The August 10, 2022 letter was a follow-up to the July 4, 2022 notice in which Block’s legal counsel, Bird & Bird, first disclosed the trademark infringement in Germany. A person familiar with the matter shared the letter with Cointelegraph.

The alleged trademark infringement involved Block’s 2020 lawsuit against Verse Technologies Inc. and Decentralized Global Payments SL due to its acquisition. The Verse and Decentralized portfolio also includes a peer-to-peer payment program called VERSE. Our customer manages this program after purchase,” the letter reads.

Block’s legal advisor explained that the “VERSE” application is available in Europe, including Germany, and can be used on both Apple and Android devices. The letter details Block’s priority rights for software for computers and mobile devices over the figurative mark containing the word “Verse” as well as the word mark “VERSE”.

The use of the designation “VERSE” constitutes a violation of our client’s trademarks under German trademark law,” the letter adds:

“Therefore, our client is required to cease and desist from infringing actions against you. In addition, our client has claims for information about the scope of the infringing actions, as well as claims for compensation for all damages that our client has suffered or will suffer as a result of the infringement. Finally, our client has the right to be reimbursed for the expenses we incurred in connection with this letter.”

The bloc’s legal counsel has asked Bitcoin.com to sign a cease and desist statement by August 17, 2022, or face further legal action. It also demanded that Bitcoin.com “cease” Verse token operations in the European Union or face a contractual penalty of $10,400 (€10,000) “per violation.” The bloc also demanded $3,906.54 (€3,744.50) in legal fees.

Bitcoin.com is owned by early Bitcoin (BTC) investor Roger Ver, who served as CEO until August 1, 2019. Bitcoin.com operates a digital asset exchange and wallet and provides daily news on the cryptocurrency market. Many in the cryptocurrency community recognize Ver for his strong support of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which emerged in 2017 after it split from Bitcoin’s original blockchain due to philosophical differences over scalability and transaction speed. However, its proponents believe that BCH is more in line with the vision laid out for Bitcoin in Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2008 white paper.

Founded by Jack Dorsey in 2009, Block rebranded from Square in December 2021 as its focus shifted to blockchain technology and Bitcoin. Dorsey has increasingly focused on Bitcoin hardware and payment solutions since he stepped down as CEO of Twitter in November 2021.

Related: Get your money back: the strange world of cryptocurrency lawsuits

Ver and Dorsey have been involved in personal feuds over the years, including in 2019 when Ver accused Dorsey of supporting the Lightning Network because of his romantic relationship with Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark. Some believe that these personal issues are why Twitter never approved the management of Bitcoin.com while Dorsey was CEO.

The Verse token at the center of the legal dispute is publicly advertised on Bitcoin.com’s Twitter page. Verse has been described by its creators as a “cross-chain token” aimed at expanding to low-fee Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains. There is a fixed supply of 210 billion tokens distributed over seven years. Its private sale, which ended last May, raised $33.6 million.