Carl Bjorklund /
29 July 2014Trademarks

Kanye West wins ‘Coinye’ suit by default

Rapper Kanye West has won his lawsuit against the founders of cryptocurrency Coinye, it has emerged.

On July 22, a clerk at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York said that as the named defendants had not filed an answer, or moved to respond to West’s complaint of trademark infringement filed in January, they lose the case by default.

The case began when Pryor Cashman LLP attorney Brad Rose, acting on behalf of West, sent a cease and desist letter to the Coinye founders on January 6.

Rose said that the ‘Coinye West’ mark was “substantially similar” to the ‘Kanye West’ mark, and that interviews with the founders “leave no doubt that [their] clear intent is to trade upon the goodwill associated with the ‘Kanye West’ mark” and West’s international fame.

The Coinye founders’ actions constitute wilful trademark infringement, unfair competition, cyberpiracy and dilution, Rose said.

The ‘Coinye’ coins feature a likeness of West, headed with the word ‘Coinye’. Despite legal intervention, the currency was made available ahead of its slated launch date, on January 7.

West’s legal team filed a summons and complaint on January 14. An amended complaint was issued in March, naming more defendants in the case.

At least three of these defendants have settled with West, and have been permanently enjoined from using the Coinye mark, or any derivation of the mark, in any website, blog or domain name, or operating a cryptocurrency bearing the name. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency, of which the best known is Bitcoin.

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9 January 2014   The makers of a virtual currency using a pun on Kanye West’s name have been threatened with legal action after they were accused of infringing the rapper’s trademark.