A significant development has surfaced, involving two major players in the domain name sector: Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and Unstoppable Domains. CryptoMode delves into the recent controversy surrounding a patent issue that has escalated into a potential legal battle.
The Genesis of the Dispute
The core of this dispute revolves around a patent recently secured by Unstoppable Domains. This patent, US11558344, claims a unique blockchain technology for domain name determination. It was filed in 2021 and listed Braden River Pezeshki, Matthew Everett Gould, and Bogdan Gusiev as the inventors. However, the awarding of this patent did not go unnoticed by ENS, leading to a potential conflict.
Nick Johnson, the founder and lead developer of Ethereum Name Service, has raised concerns over the novelty of Unstoppable Domains’ patent. According to him, the patent leverages innovations initially developed by ENS and lacks any new inventive steps.
ENS operates on a principle of openness, offering a system that translates human-readable names into machine-readable identifiers using the Ethereum blockchain. This system is crucial for the smooth functioning of various digital assets and is publicly available under open-source licenses.
The Open Letter and Legal Threat
The situation escalated with Nick Johnson’s open letter, initially shared on X. In this letter, Johnson articulates that despite ENS’s open-source philosophy and attempts to engage in dialogue, Unstoppable Domains has remained unresponsive.
He further stresses the need for Unstoppable Domains to legally affirm its commitment to the Web3 Domain Alliance, an initiative it founded, by making an unequivocal and irreversible patent pledge.
Unstoppable Domains’ Response and the Web3 Domain Alliance
In response to these allegations, Matthew Gould, one of the named inventors of the contested patent and a representative of Unstoppable Domains, extended an invitation to join the Web3 Domain Alliance.
This organization, pledged with the patent, aims to foster collaboration among various naming systems within the blockchain domain registry sector. Gould emphasizes the importance of diversity in naming systems. He also highlights the need for a collective platform for collaboration, which slightly differs from ENS’s approach.
As this dispute unfolds, the future of blockchain domain technology remains in flux. The resolution of this conflict will impact the involved parties and set a precedent for the broader blockchain community. It underscores the necessity for clarity in innovation and patenting within this rapidly evolving technological landscape.
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