J.R.R. Tolkien estate vanquishes "Lord of the Rings"-themed cryptocurrency

One does not simply call a cryptocurrency JRRToken and not expect the Tolkien estate to go all Smaug on them

By Dan Selcke

Published December 16, 2021 10:30AM (EST)

Ian McKellen (L) as Gandalf with Elijah Wood as Frodo in "Lord Of The Rings" (Getty Images/New Line/WireImage)
Ian McKellen (L) as Gandalf with Elijah Wood as Frodo in "Lord Of The Rings" (Getty Images/New Line/WireImage)

This story originally appeared on Winter is Coming.

The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien does not mess around. They're been known to go after tourism and merchandise companies who reference "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," but just lately they vanquished a new sort of dragon: a cryptocurrency called JRR Token, which did business at JRRToken.com.

If the reference wasn't already obvious, JRR Token styled itself as "The One Token That Rules Them All." According to the Financial Times, the Tolkien estate lodged a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which found that the developer "aware of Tolkien's works and created a website to trade off the fame of these works." And this despite JRR Token arguing that "token" was a generic term and couldn't possibly be confused with "Tolkien," nor was it infringing on any intellectual property. Can you believe the administrative panel didn't buy that?

The Tolkien estate has now recovered the JRRToken.com domain name, which goes nowhere. The developer will stop all operations under the JRR Token name and delete any infringing content from its and social media accounts. The lawyer for the Tolkien estate said this was a "particularly flagrant case of infringement." I daresay they're right.

Cryptocurrencies have been popping up all over in recent years, and the proprietors don't seem overly concerned about crossing any legal lines. Did you know there's one called the Dracarys Dragon Token? Might wanna get on that, HBO.

If you'd like to watch something the Tolkien estate has approved, Amazon is working on a wildly expensive "Lord of the Rings" series set during the Second Age of Middle-earth and due out next September.


Dan Selcke

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