Tolkien estate blocks JRR Token crypto

JRR Token’s Twitter account and YouTube channel have been deleted

Ian McKellen playing Gandalf and Elijah Wood playing Frodo in a scene from The Fellowship Of The Ring                                 
The author’s estate has taken legal action against the punning cryptocurrency – Photo: Alamy
                                

The estate of JRR Tolkien, who died in 1973 and is best known as the author of The Lord of the Rings (Allen & Unwin, 1954) and The Hobbit (Allen & Unwin, 1937) has taken legal action against the cryptocurrency JRR Token, causing it to cease all activity.

The JRR Token, which had the tagline “One Token That Rules Them All”, was launched in August this year and endorsed by one of the actors from The Lord of the Rings movie franchise. Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in The Lord of the Rings films, released a video on YouTube promoting the crypto, saying that “it will be around for the long haul”.

The Tolkien estate took action against the crypto via the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) arbitration procedure, where it stated that JRR Token infringed the trademark rights of JRR Tolkien’s name. It also argued that the domain name was “specifically designed to mislead internet users into believing that it and the website to which it resolves have some legitimate commercial connection”.

The estate successfully recovered the website domain name jrrtoken.com after filing the complaint to the WIPO. The developer behind the JRR Token crypto, Florida-based Matthew Jensen, pointed out that the letters “L” and “I” were not included in the crypto’s domain name, but to no avail.

JRR Token’s Twitter account and YouTube channel have also been deleted.

Changed name after WIPO ruling  

The WIPO ruled that the domain name was in “bad faith”, leading Jensen to change it to thetokenofpower.com. However, Tolkien’s estate was still displeased, because the site included images associated with The Lord of the Rings, such as hobbit holes and a wizard bearing a resemblance to Gandalf.

Jensen’s lawyers argued that JRR was chosen as the domain name because it stands for “Journey through Risk to Reward”, but the WIPO dismissed the claim, stating that it was “not clear”.

JRR Token has stopped operating under the name, and JRR Tolkien’s estate has obtained an undertaking from the US-based developer to delete any infringing online content and to pay the estate’s legal costs.

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