The green-focused blockchain project Chia Network and a journalist who recently started a blog focused on the Bram Cohen-founded company have exchanged legal barbs over whether the website has the right to use the Chia name.
Chia has asked journalist Chris Dupres, the founder of thechiaplot.net, to discontinue the use of the company’s name because it violates trademark law. Dupres’ attorney, Paul Alan Levy from Public Citizen, responded with a fiery letter Wednesday to Chia’s head of IP Belle Borovik, insisting the blog name was not misleading.
“Just how gullible do you expect your customers to be?” wrote Levy in the letter, which was linked to a Dupres’ blog post. “I daresay that even the proverbial moron in a hurry would be able to recognize, immediately upon visiting The Chia Plot, that this is a website devoted to journalism about your company rather than being sponsored by your company.”
Chia is arguing the unauthorized use of its trademark “exposes community members to potential scammers, misleading and confusing them.” The blog is only around two weeks old.
On May 25, the project sent a letter to Dupres outlining the concerns over the use of the name “Chia” citing the “unauthorized use of Chia Network’s registered … mark,” or logos.
The project subsequently asked Dupres to respond, which he did via Levy, stating he would not back down from the use of the name.
“Dupres is not going to comply,” wrote Levy, who went on to say Chia had no right to authorize the use of an “unregistered” trademark against websites discussing Chia.
Levy also cited 10 years’ worth of precedent trademark case law where companies threatening or pursuing legal action had failed. He has given Chia until June 9 to retract its demand that Dupres stop using the name Chia.
Dupres is not willing to keep operating his website subject to the threat of alleged trademark damages.
“Failing a prompt retraction, a request for waiver of service could well be the next communication you receive on this topic,” wrote Levy.
UPDATE (June 7, 03:00 UTC): Embedded letter by Dupres’ lawyer, below.