Two companies with similar names face legal battle for their domain

Quick Take

  • An Ohio-based blockchain company changed its name to Ownum LLC and filed for a trademark, but a Delaware-based software company with the similar name of Ownum Inc. is presenting problems 
  • Ownum Inc. owns the domain name ownum.com, which has caused confusion for clients regarding which business is which
  • Ownum LLC has filed a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop Ownum Inc. from using the name and is also seeking damages for any business Ownum Inc. received from the domain name confusion

Disclaimer: These summaries are provided for educational purposes only by Nelson Rosario and Stephen Palley. They are not legal advice. These are our opinions only, aren’t authorized by any past, present or future client or employer. Also we might change our minds. We contain multitudes.

As always, Rosario summaries are “NMR” and Palley summaries are “SDP".

[related id=1] Ownum, LLC v. Ownum, Inc., Case 1:19-cv-01043-UNA (D. Del. filed June 5, 2019)[NMR]

This is a case of a blockchain company enforcing its trademark rights against a non-blockchain company. As you might recall, not that long ago the Crypto Caselaw Minute covered the inverse scenario where an established firm was suing a blockchain startup. The times they are a changing. Okay, what are the particulars here, and is Ownum suing itself? No.

Ownum, LLC is an Ohio-based blockchain company that is developing products and services for managing titles to vehicles, birth and death records, as well as other vital and/or governmental records. Ownum, LLC has four different operating units: CHAMPtitles, Vital Chain, DigiCredits, and Tech Tags. Apparently, Ownum, LLC started out as CHAMPtitles, for which they own a trademark, and then on May 11, 2018 they officially changed their company name to Ownum. May 28, 2018, they file for a trademark on the word Ownum, and on January 15, 2019, the USPTO issued a Notice of Allowance for the Ownum mark directed to software solutions for managing the aforementioned types of documents. The complaint is filled with about six pages of evidence showcasing the Ownum trademark in various press releases, social media postings, and other items to hammer home the association of the name Ownum with the Ownum business lines.

Ownum, Inc. is a Delaware based corporation that sells software that helps people manage their medications. Ownum, Inc. was incorporated March 7, 2019, and is the owner of the domain name ownum.com. That domain name is where all the trouble here began.

Generally speaking, trademark law exists to identify the source of goods and services. It is an ancient body of law tracing back to the practice of craftsman affixing their own personal m