The Federal Reserve Financial institution of Chicago has issued a cease and desist letter to Bitcoin Magazine, alleging it to have used a trademarked time period IP — ‘FEDNOW’ — with out its consent.
In accordance to the letter, dated Oct. 27, 2023, the Federal Reserve confronted Bitcoin Magazine concerning its merchandise bearing the ‘FEDNOW’ mark, which they declare is probably going to trigger confusion and deception amongst customers. The Fed believes individuals could misread these things as being affiliated with or endorsed by the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve, as per the trademark registration, owns all rights to the ‘FEDNOW’ service mark, which it makes use of to facilitate the digital switch of funds amongst monetary establishments. Notably, the ‘FEDNOW’ mark was first utilized in commerce in Aug. 2019 and formally registered as a service mark in Might 2023.
Bitcoin Magazine, in its protection, argues that its use of ‘FEDNOW’ is parodic and a type of political criticism directed on the Federal Reserve. In a reply letter dated Nov. 2, 2023, the journal’s authorized counsel, Zachary Shapiro, asserts that the design in query is a commentary on the “digital panopticon” symbolized by the Federal Reserve’s ‘FedNow’ platform, which allows 24/7 digital surveillance of transactions.
Shapiro wrote that given Bitcoin Magazine’s constant critique of centralized monetary entities, together with the Federal Reserve, “any claim of consumer confusion concerning an endorsement or affiliation between its merchandise and the Federal Reserve seems rather far-fetched.” He additionally highlighted the perilous intersection of trademark regulation and free speech, suggesting that the Federal Reserve’s try to silence political critique raises issues about First Modification rights.
Mark Goodwin, the Editor in Chief of Bitcoin Magazine, has additionally issued an open letter to the Federal Reserve, asserting that the journal refuses to adjust to the cease-and-desist request and won’t be silenced. Goodwin emphasizes that Bitcoin Magazine is merely exercising its First Modification rights to social commentary and parody and is dedicated to defending its proper to promote merchandise that critiques the FedNow system.
Clearly, this unfolding dispute presents one other occasion of the strain between conventional monetary establishments and the rising cryptocurrency business. It stays to be seen how this authorized face-off will conclude and what implications it may need for the broader discourse on monetary techniques, privateness, and the First Modification.