The New York Federal Court denied the motion to dismiss the ruling in the trademark infringement action by cryptocurrency wallet and exchange operator Blockchain.com against fintech startup Paymium and its CEO Pierre Noizat over the use of domain “blockchain.io”.
According to the court documents published on Aug. 7, the lawsuit, originally filed by Blockchain.com in September 2018, claimed that Paymium and its Blockchain.io platform not only infringed on the trademark, but also were involved in alleged unfair competition and false advertising.
Blockchain versus Blockchain
In February 2019, Paymium moved a motion “to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted […] and for lack of personal jurisdiction over Pierre Noizat.”
In its turn, Blockchain.com successfully managed to argue that their marks were not inherently descriptive and acquired secondary meaning, and that Blockchain.com and Blockchain.io marks were substantially similar enough for the case to proceed.
The New York Federal Court denied the trademark infringement part of the Paymium’s motion and allowed the suit to continue.
You don’t mess with the SEC
The court also found Paymium’s advertising claims that the “filing has been accepted and [it is] now registered with the SEC!” to be false, so this part stays in the lawsuit too.
In reality, the only thing the startup registered at that time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was a Form D. Blockchain.com argued that “the filing of a Form D does not mean that a security is ‘registered’ or that it has been in any way scrutinized or approved by the SEC.” The court agreed.
At the same time, all claims against Pierre Noizat were dismissed due to the actual lack of personal jurisdiction. The court also argued that the advertising of “hack-free status and atomic swaps” was not false.