ENS Founder Calls Out Unstoppable Domains Over Patent Dispute

ENS Founder Calls Out Unstoppable Domains Over Patent Dispute

ENS Founder Calls Out Unstoppable Domains Over Patent Dispute

Nick Johnson, the founder and primary developer of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), has issued an open letter on X (formerly Twitter) wherein he urges blockchain domains company Unstoppable Domains to relinquish a recently granted patent or risk legal action.

US11558344, the first patent awarded to Unstoppable Domains in January, asserts that Bogdan Gusiev, Matthew Everett Gould, and Braden River Pezeshki are the inventors of a domain determination technology based on blockchain technology.

“The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a distributed, open, and extensible naming system based on the Ethereum blockchain. ENS’s job is to map human-readable names like ‘alice. eth’ to machine-readable identifiers such as Ethereum addresses, other cryptocurrency addresses, content hashes, and metadata.”

In 2021, the petition for a patent was submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As per Johnson’s assertion, the patent is “completely founded on innovations developed by ENS and does not comprise any original innovations of its own.”

The documentation for the ENS specifies: Johnson asserts in the open letter published on November 17 that the entire ENS project is governed by open-source licenses and that all implementation standards are accessible to the public.

In recent months, persistent attempts to communicate with Unstoppable Domains regarding the matter have been unsuccessful, per his account.

In a subsequent press release, UD “committed” to granting its inaugural patent to the Web3 Domain Alliance, an industry consortium that was established and is managed by Unstoppable Domains.

Johnson stated in the thread, “We appreciate the sentiment behind this, but press releases are not legally binding.” The ENS Laboratory is “ready to challenge this patent, which we believe is entirely derivative of our inventions, a position we are able and willing to demonstrate,” warned Johnson.

Matthew Gould, purportedly an inventor affiliated with Unstoppable Domains, replied to the discussion thread by cordially inviting others to become members of the Web3 Domain Alliance, the blockchain-based domain registry organization that was allegedly endorsed in exchange for the patent.

Additionally, Gould asserted that the thread has garnered interest from the cryptocurrency community.

ENS Founder Calls Out Unstoppable Domains Over Patent Dispute

Screenshot of patent granted to Unstoppable Domains on Jan. 17, 2023. Source: USPTO

According to Bob Summerwill, executive director of the Ethereum Classic Cooperative (ETC Cooperative), requiring membership in the Web3 Domain Alliance for technology rights is an additional direct attack on the open-source ethos.

“Matthew, this prior pledge is not the same as the one we are discussing; to receive the benefits of the patent pledge, legal entities must “join society.”

Your right to patent assault remains with anyone who fails to comply and decides to join your alliance.”

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