Decentralized Finance Advocacy Group Petitions USPTO to Review Patent Owned by Alleged “Patent Troll”
The DeFi Education Fund (DEF), an organization dedicated to promoting decentralized finance (DeFi), has submitted a petition to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to review a patent owned by True Return Systems. DEF has accused True Return Systems of being a “patent troll” and aims to profit from patent lawsuits.
In a blog post on September 7, DEF announced that it filed a comprehensive petition, consisting of over 90 pages, to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The goal is to cancel True Return Systems’ patent, which was granted in 2018. According to DEF’s legal chief, Amanda Tuminelli, the patent claims ownership of a process for “linking off-chain data to a blockchain.”
Tuminelli revealed that True Return Systems attempted to sell their patent as a non-fungible token (NFT) but found no buyers. Subsequently, the company filed a lawsuit against DeFi protocols MakerDAO and Compound Finance in October. Tuminelli believes that True Return Systems purposely named defendants who would be unable to respond to the complaint, enabling them to obtain a default judgment.
“We believe that [True Return’s] goal was to name defendants who could not answer the complaint so [it] could get a default judgement,” Tuminelli stated.
DEF argues that the technology described in the patent was not innovative when it was granted in 2018. They point to existing technologies such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and decentralized storage platforms like Sia, Storj, and Swarm. These technologies, DEF claims, share similarities with True Return Systems’ claimed invention.
True Return Systems has not yet provided a comment in response to Cointelegraph’s request.
DEF launched the petition with the USPTO to safeguard the use and development of open-source software and to prevent any potential lawsuits against crypto projects. Furthermore, DEF aims to assist MakerDAO and Compound Finance in their legal defense.
True Return Systems has three months to respond to the petition. After six months, the USPTO will make a decision regarding whether to review the patent. If the review proceeds, the USPTO will have 12 months to determine whether the patent should be canceled.
These latest developments shed light on the escalating battle between intellectual property rights and the open-source nature of the cryptocurrency and DeFi ecosystem. As the industry continues to evolve, legal disputes concerning patents and innovation are expected to become more prevalent.
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