Blockchain Companies Spar Over Names in Newly Filed Lawsuit

Blockchain company Tari Labs, LLC filed a complaint against Lightning Labs, Inc for copyright infringement. They allege that Lightning’s new platform, TARO, bears a name confusingly similar to their own trademark. 

Both Tari and Lightning are blockchain companies that offer services to those interested in the technology and its associated assets. Blockchain is a relatively new technology that creates and adds to a digital ledger allowing for the verification and identification of transactions. It is most commonly used to buy, sell, and trade digital assets like cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

While  Tari Labs does operate a cryptocurrency (TARI tokens), they say in the complaint that their main focus is a protocol for all digital assets. They boast that their protocol is open-source, scalable, secure, private and stable, which they claim gives it high performance. The TARI platform also contains features like digital wallets, allowing users to easily manage their assets, and emoji-ID, which TARI says are easier to remember than the usual numeric pass codes.

While defendant Lightning has existed since 2016, at issue is their April 2020 announcement and September 2022 launch of their own platform dubbed TARO. While TARO does not offer identical services to the TARI platform, Tari Labs alleges that since they both target the same demographic of users, and since they share three letters of their name, TARO has the potential to confuse users. While not explicitly stated in the complaint, a mere accidental press of a thumb on a smartphone keyboard could lead a customer to end up at one or the other. 

Thus Tari Labs is suing to get Lightning to change the name of their platform and receive compensation for any profits they say Lightning has unjustly earned by using the TARO name. In addition they seek recompense for legal fees incurred by bringing this action.

The complaint was filed in the Northern District of California, where both companies are headquartered. Tari is represented by BraunHagey & Borden LLP