Tolkien estate blocks ‘The Lord of the Rings’ JRR Token
The Lord of the Rings-themed ‘JRR Token’ has met a “bag end” after being forced to shut shop following legal action from the family and estate of the famed series’ author. J.R.R. Tolkien who died in 1973.
On Nov. 23, Law360 reported that the Tolkien Estate had reached a settlement with Florida-based developer Matthew Jensen over his JRR Token, which was launched in August this year. According to BSCScan, the BEP-20 token is only held by 510 addresses, with a market supply of 19 trillion.
According to the settlement, Jensen promised to shut down the token and delete any content which infringes the estate’s trademark rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien name and intellectual property relating to “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” He also agreed to pay the estate’s legal costs, which weren’t disclosed.
The estate’s lawyer, Steve Maier, described the case as a “particularly flagrant case of infringement,” adding that the estate is “pleased that it has been concluded on satisfactory terms.”
This comes after the estate successfully recovered the website domain name ‘jrrtoken.com’ after filing a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Aug. 10 – only four days after Billy Boyd, the actor who played Pippin, endorsed the token in a 40-second YouTube cameo on Aug. 4.
At the time, WIPO ruled that Jensen registered and used the domain name in “bad faith.” The disputed domain name was registered on February 26, 2021.
Following the ruling, Jensen changed the domain name to ‘thetokenofpower.com’. However, according to Tolkien’s Estate, the new website still included images of rings, Hobbit holes, and a wizard with a striking resemblance to Gandalf.
Jensen’s lawyers argued that the disputed domain name ‘JRR Token’ is not “is not identical or confusingly similar” to the Tolkien estate’s trademarked ‘JRR Tolkien’ because it doesn’t contain the additional letters ‘L’ and ‘I’, and is also pronounced differently.
They also claimed that he selected the domain name because “JRR” stands for “Journey through Risk to Reward,” and “jrrcrypto.com” was unavailable.
However, they weren’t able to persuade WIPO panel member John Swinson, who said that the “website is clearly a commercial venture, which is clever but not humorous.” He added:
“There is no doubt that the Respondent was aware of Tolkien’s works and created a website to trade off the fame of these works.”
On September 9, the JRR Token announced plans to release a PvP digital card game called ‘Dawn Rising’ in early 2022 where players could wager their JRR Tokens. The TRR Token project had already listed nine nonfungible tokens (NFTs) for sale on the OpenSea marketplace, with an account trading volume of 0.18 ETH or around $4.200 at the time of reporting.