Founder of Ethereum Name Service Calls on Unstoppable Domains to Drop Patent
In an open letter shared on X (formerly Twitter), Nick Johnson, the founder and lead developer of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), has called on blockchain domains company Unstoppable Domains to drop a recently awarded patent or face a lawsuit. The patent, US11558344, was granted to Unstoppable Domains in January and claims to use blockchain technology to determine domains. However, Johnson argues that the patent is based on innovations developed by ENS and contains no novel innovations of its own.
ENS is a distributed naming system based on the Ethereum blockchain, and its purpose is to map human-readable names to machine-readable identifiers. Johnson states that all ENS work is under open-source licenses, with all standards publicly available for implementation. Despite attempts to contact Unstoppable Domains about the issue, Johnson claims that his efforts have been unsuccessful.
In response to the patent issue, Unstoppable Domains issued a press release pledging its first patent to the Web3 Domain Alliance, an industry group founded and run by Unstoppable Domains. However, Johnson argues that press releases are not legally binding and requests that Unstoppable Domains make an unconditional and irrevocable patent pledge.
Johnson warns that ENS Labs is ready to challenge the patent, as they believe it is entirely derivative of their own inventions. Matthew Gould, one of the alleged inventors from Unstoppable Domains, responded by inviting Johnson to join the Web3 Domain Alliance and arguing that multiple naming systems should exist to ensure collaboration.
The crypto community has taken notice of the thread, with Bob Summerwill, executive director of the Ethereum Classic Cooperative, stating that requiring organizations to join the Web3 Domain Alliance for rights over the technology is a direct attack on the open-source ethos.
Cointelegraph reached out to Unstoppable Domains for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
This article originally appeared on Cointelegraph.