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Unstoppable Domains and .wallet Handshake owner file dueling lawsuits

Fight escalates between Unstoppable Domains and Handshake.

Picture of two boxers with the words "blockchain domain fight"

Blockchain domain name company Unstoppable Domains and the owner of .wallet in the rival Handshake system have sued each other.

The lawsuits come on the heels of Unstoppable Domains’ lawsuit against Gateway Registry and its owner. Unstoppable sued those parties after Gateway started offering .wallet registrations in Handshake.

Gateway was operating as a registry/registrar for Wallet Inc. and its owner Scott Florcsk, which registered .wallet in Handshake. Unstoppable didn’t name Florsck and Wallet Inc. in that suit, but Florsck later filed to intervene.

Florsck’s lawsuit (pdf) asks for Declaratory Judgment that he is not infringing Unstoppable’s rights, unfair competition, and violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

His lawsuit reiterates many of the arguments in his motion to intervene. In addition to pointing out Unstoppable’s failed attempts to get trademarks for top level domains, a key argument is that people won’t confuse matching domains in different blockchains because you can only access one blockchain at a time.

Unstoppable’s lawsuit (pdf) names both Florsck and Wallet Inc. It asks for findings of common law trademark infringement, unfair competition, and intentional interference with contractual relations and with prospective business relationships.

The company points to its unregistered trademark rights in the U.S. but also says it has registered rights in the European Union and Japan. (This is news to me. The company has repeatedly failed to get trademarks in the U.S. Last year, it expanded its attempts to get trademarks to Canada.)

At NamesCon earlier this month, Unstoppable Domains CEO Brad Kam said he believes there cannot be matching blockchain domains in different systems for blockchain domains to work. As for who should get exclusive rights to run a TLD, Kam stated:

It’s the same as it would be for any IP. So essentially what happens is you have first commercial use, you have market penetration…you have all the same reasons why you can’t launch McDonald’s restaurant is the same reason.

Both suits were filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

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