Community split on ENS petition against Unstoppable Domains patent


Crypto community members expressed differing opinions as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) officially challenged a United States patent granted to Unstoppable Domains (UD) in January 2023. 

On May 2, ENS petitioned the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to challenge the validity of the UD patent. The company said that this move aims to ensure that the web “remains a collaborative space.”

Source: ENS

ENS believes that UD has patented the technology that they pioneered. “This isn’t flattery — it’s theft. We have to fight this to ensure that ENS remains unrestricted for all,” ENS wrote.

ENS also added that their organization “thrives on decentralization and public benefit.” According to the firm, the UD patent threatens to distort or destroy their core vision and beliefs. This includes the belief that core web functions must be free and not barricaded by patents.

Some crypto community members supported ENS’ move against UD, while others argued against the petition.

Cinneamhain Ventures’ Adam Cochran believes that the UD patent is not valid. Cochran argued that blockchain names, which were designed by ENS, must remain a perpetual public good and open intellectual property.

“One of the critical values in this space is building in the open and not creating IP capture,” Cochran added.

Decentralized finance (DeFi) advocates at the DeFi Education Fund also expressed their support for ENS. The organization said that it aligns with ENS in advocating and advancing open-source protocols.

But a crypto community member argued that ENS has “nothing left for them but to attack UD.” The X user alleged that ENS “incite their friends not to work with UD” and said that the organization exhausts investors with high fees.

Another X user said that this is an attempt from ENS to gaslight. The community member argued that patents are not granted without due process. The X user also urged ENS to keep the petition on the court and not on X.

Related: ENS data from Etherscan now visible in Google search results

Unstoppable Domains founder Matthew Gould responded to ENS on X and said that ENS was cited on the patent along with other blockchain domain systems. The UD founder said that the patent was reviewed with these citations and is valid.

Source: Matthew Gould

However, ENS founder Nick Johnson responded to Gould’s statement on X, challenging him to summarize key innovations in their patent that were not already a part of ENS. However, Gould did not post further responses to ENS and Johnson.

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