- The family of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien have won a court ruling to shut down a "ring trilogy-themed" crypto token.
- The creator of the "JRR token" must cease trading and remove all infringing content, according to media reports.
- A number of cryptocurrencies have arisen from pop culture such as dogecoin, the Squid Game token and even Elon Musk's dog.
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A cryptocurrency inspired by the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was barred from operating on Tuesday after the family and estate of author JRR Tolkien brought legal action against the digital token's creator.
The "JRR token", created by Florida-based developer Matthew Jensen, launched in August this year. Tolkien's estate brought a copyright infringement complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) within weeks, stating the token's website included references to the writer's famous fantasy fiction series, including its characters and other images.
At the center of the complaint was the use of the domain name "www.jrrtoken.com". The WIPO arbitration process found in favor of Tolkein's estate. According to a press release emailed on Tuesday by the Tolkein family's lawyers – Maier Blackburn Solicitors – Jensen must immediately cease trading and remove all content referring to the token across its website and social media accounts.
"This was a particularly flagrant case of infringement, and the estate is pleased that it has been concluded on satisfactory terms," Steve Maier, of Maier Blackburn Solicitors, said in the statement.
Jensen was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.
As part of the WIPO arbitration, Jensen had said the domain name was not identical to the Lord of the Rings creator's name. "Specifically, the Complainant's J R R TOLKIEN trademark contains the additional letters "L" and "I" which are conspicuously absent from the disputed domain name. The pronunciation is also different," he said.
With hundreds of new cryptocurrencies created daily, it's unlikely that the demise of the Lord of the Rings-inspired token will mark the end of digital tokens inspired by mainstream culture. Dogecoin, one of the world's most widely traded cryptos, was based on a popular internet meme, giving rise to spinoffs that include the floki inu token, named after Elon Musk's dog. They're not all harmless though. Earlier this month saw the sudden rise of the Squid Game token, which took its name from the record-breaking Korean Netflix show, that later turned out to be fraudulent.