Yesterday, Jameson Lopp flagged a fully paid trademark application, filed by Coinbase with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, for the word BUIDL. (Definition here.)
Coinbase took a while to respond, which they did via this tweetstorm by CTO Balaji Srinivasan, who claims Coinbase had actually filed for the trademark way back in October and that it "had no intention to prevent the community from using it." Moreover:
Nelson Rosario, a Chicago-based intellectual property attorney who founded the blockchain lawyer networking group in that city, immediately disputed Srinivasan's framing:
The Coinbase backtrack included two further puzzling, uh, interpretations of how things had gone down. The first:
Hmm. As Anthony Sassano pointed out earlier today, the first instance of BUIDL was actually a genuine misspelling in a BitcoinTalk.com chatroom in 2011 (if not earlier), not a sudden flash of divine inspiration upon the Coinbase stage.
And second, even more jarring, was this tweet from Srinivasan:
"Giving this one back to the community" after a foiled attempt to impose legal protections on it? How generous!
But as property lawyer Cole Davis put it in a response to Rosario, legally the trademark application has not yet been formally abandoned by Coinbase, which is the only way the company could conceivably return it to the public domain:
Ah the crypto world, where the public relations cleanup ends up doing more damage than the attempted below-the-radar government filing.