The JRR Tolkien Estate, the managing entity of the Tolkien legacy in all its forms, today announced that it won a legal battle against the cryptocurrency JRR Token ($JRR). The similarity between the epic fantasy author and the cryptocurrency token ended in their names; there was no affiliation between its creators and that of the estate. Thus, the estate filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) one day after ($JRR) went on sale.
The token itself launched in early August this year with Middle-Earth quips and references abounding – calling ($JRR) holders and would-be investors to “Journey through Risk to Reward.” The “Journey” itself was to make the JRR Token “The One Token That Rules Them All.” A promotional video launched on YouTube (since deleted) included actor Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in the Lord of the Rings trilogy stating, “Do I think they’re going to the moon? There and back again.”
Even Tolkien himself could never have imagined this marriage between blockchain and Middle-Earth happening. And the estate seemed to find it particularly aggravating that it was blockchain and cryptocurrencies infringing on Tolkien’s trademarks, referring to them as being “a highly contentious area of activity.”
All of the above were elements in the estate’s complaint, which also stated that the jrrtoken.com domain, registered in February 2021, was “specifically designed to mislead” people into believing it had a legitimate commercial connection with the author. The JRR token developers shielded themselves in the parody of a renowned trademark, but the WIPO dismissed this, stating that “The respondent does not specify why the disputed domain name is humorous, funny or nail-biting and not just a domain name chosen due to its similarities with the [Tolkien estate’s] trademarks, to take commercial advantage of its evocation.” The WIPO also found it clear that the token developers were aware of Tolkien’s works and their commercial, transmedia worldwide success, and were attempting “to trade off the fame of these works”.
As the Financial Times reports, the Tolkien estate has recovered the JRRToken.com domain name, as well as social media accounts associated with the coin. Tom Bombadil would surely have a song proper for the occasion.