Blockchain startup Tari Labs wins restraining order against Lightning Labs over Taro protocol

Quick Take

  • Blockchain startup Tari Labs has won a temporary restraining order against bitcoin developer Lightning Labs over its Taro protocol and platform.
  • The ruling means that Lightning Labs won’t be able to make updates to the Taro protocol or announce further developments to the protocol.

Blockchain startup Tari Labs has won a temporary restraining order against bitcoin developer Lighting Labs' Taro protocol.

Lightning announced the protocol in April of last year. It aims to be used for issuing assets on the Bitcoin blockchain, which can then be transferred over the Lightning Network. Lightning Labs itself has been around since 2016 and develops software to power Bitcoin's Layer 2 Lightning Network.

Tari Labs founded its Tari protocol, which enables the transfer of digital assets from tickets to virtual goods, in 2020. Tari owns the U.S. registered trademark for Tari for various cryptocurrency trading and exchange services. The blockchain platform filed a complaint in the Northern District of California against Lightning Labs last year for copyright infringement. It alleges that its Taro protocol and platform bears similar name to its own trademark and offers similar services.

Temporary restraining order

U.S. District Judge William Orrick granted a motion on Monday that restrains Lightning Labs from making external updates to its Taro protocol and from announcing the next stage of the  protocol. The order will restrain Lightning Labs until a hearing on any motion for dissolution of the temporary restraining order occurs.


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"Tari makes a strong showing of success on the merits and meets the statutory rule for a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm, which Lightning fails to rebut," said Orrick in the motion filing. "The balance of equities and public interest factors are less strong but at this stage, favor Tari."

Tari Labs is backed by investors including Pantera, Blockchain Capital and Multicoin. It's also developed the Tari Aurora wallet for holding digital assets. 

"We cannot allow a competitor to sow confusion in the marketplace by trading on the good will associated with our name and offering nearly identical services under a nearly identical name, which we were using first," said Naveen Jain, CEO of Tari Labs, in a release. "Consumers and developers will be harmed if they get confused between whether they are dealing with Tari or Taro assets.  We hope Lightning Labs will do the right thing and change their name.”

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About Author

Kari McMahon is a deals reporter at The Block covering startup fundraises, M&A, FinTech and the VC industry. Prior to joining The Block, Kari covered investing and crypto at Insider and worked as a python software developer for several years. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected]


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