Telegram, the encrypted messaging platform, is now mandated to pay out about $625,000 in legal fees to one Lantah LLC. Lantah stands as a cryptocurrency startup that was sued by Telegram over GRAM trademark infringement.
Trademark Infringement Causes Massive Legal Case
It was back in 2018 when Telegram dragged the small startup to Court, claiming that the use of the GRAM crypto-ticker was trademark infringement and unfair competition. Further allegations were that the startup was making plans to launch its own form of GRAM token.
Lantah responded to the Telegram lawsuit by launching a countersuit. There, the startup asserted priority over the GRAM trademark, as it applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office for the token back in Late 2017.
Abandoning Lost Ground
The legal battle would’ve been bloody, but Telegram had voluntarily dropped the lawsuit back in August. This came after the messaging platform had wholly abandoned its plans to launch the TON project, primarily thanks to the massive backlash received by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.
As per the court ruling made on the 2nd of November, 2020, the US District Court has now ordered Telegram to dock up $618,240. This is to compensate Lantah’s attorney fees, which it spent defending itself throughout the past few years.
The small startup was quick to demand compensation of 1,030.4 hours, valued at $900 per hour, but the Court had granted compensation at $600 per hour, thus maintaining the standard market rate. Alongside this, Telegram will be mandated to pay $6,737.35 in additional costs to Lantah.
Some Important Facts To Remember
It should be noted that this lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice. As such, Telegram will be able to drag Lantah back to Court once more in the future over these trademark violations.
Telegram had managed to raise an impressive $1.7 billion through a closed-door initial coin offering, or ICO. This occurred back in early 2018, and was regarding the launch of its own blockchain network, dubbed TON. The company apparently didn’t account for the SEC, however, as the financial regulator gave heavy backlash to the company, alleging that it had sold unregistered securities in the process.
The SEC had filed its lawsuit against Telegram just ahead of the distribution of GRAM tokens to investors. As a result, the entire process was delayed multiple times. What came from this lawsuit was a protracted, bloody legal battle between the two groups, eventually leading to telegram shutting down its blockchain project. The company had to subsequently refund its ICO investors, and was forced to pay a fine of $18 million.