Vice Media Goes After Vice Industry Token, A Porn Crypto-Currency Company, For Trademark

from the pron-coin dept

The last time we checked in with Vice Media it was firing off a cease and desist letter to a tiny little punk band called ViceVersa, demanding that it change its name because Vice Media has a trademark for the word "vice" for several markets. In case you thought that occurrence was a one-off for Vice Media, or the result of an overzealous new hire to the company's legal team, Vice Media is again trademark bullying another comany, Vice Industry Token. VIT is apparently a pornography cryptocurrency company, which is a three-word combination that I bet god herself could never have imagined being uttered. The claim in the C&D notice that VIT got is, of course, that Vice Media has a "vice" trademark and that this use infringes upon it.

Vice Media sent a cease-and-desist letter to the digital upstart in November, alleging its "Vice Industry Token" trademark infringes on its rights to "Vice," according to a complaint filed Friday in California federal court.

As noted, VIT is going to court to declare its use of the word "vice" non-infringing. The complaint as filed does not offer up the reasoning VIT has for its use to not be infringing, but it's fairly easy to guess. Vice Media is a major media company playing in a variety of markets, from magazines to music and journalism. It is not, however, the following:

VIT offers its proprietary cryptocurrency and also operates an adult entertainment platform, which, according to the complaint, are together designed to "change the nature and monetization of pornography."

There is simply nothing between the two entities that represents a competitive situation. Given that, I have to expect that the court will side with VIT, which was quite smart in seeking this declaratory judgement. What that will not answer, though, is why Vice Media ever thought any of this was necessary to begin with.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2018 @ 3:37pm

    What that will not answer, though, is why Vice Media ever thought any of this was necessary to begin with.

    Easy. Their lawyers were bored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2018 @ 3:47pm

    Re: VIT is apparently a pornography cryptocurrency company

    Certainly gives a new meaning to the phrase "coin slot".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2018 @ 4:50pm

    I choose to interpret actions like those Vice Media is engaging in as a desperate plea for help (from the mentally impaired)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Reverend Dak (profile), 25 Jan 2018 @ 5:08pm

    Idiots. They should follow SyFy's lead, and call themselves Vyce.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    carlb, 25 Jan 2018 @ 5:28pm

    ViseGrip (tm) should sue everyone else involved

    It'd be the lesser of two vices, after all, and they were in the space first. Time for a clampdown?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 25 Jan 2018 @ 8:26pm

    Just once...

    Just once I wanna see a nicely arranged reply letter from one of these victims representation that simply consists of the message:

    "No. Sue us. More judges could use a good laugh."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Jan 2018 @ 12:27am

    Another cautionary tale of trying to build your brand identity on a common noun used to describe what you do. It seems that a lot of these companies could save themselves a lot of court time if only they used some basic imagination when creating brands in the first place...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    oliver, 26 Jan 2018 @ 1:52am

    This deserves the standard Popehat-answer: SNORT MY TAINT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2018 @ 3:42am

    Get a grip

    vice-grip is next on the list for a C&D

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2018 @ 3:59am

    Pass the smelling salts!

    Please pass me my smelling salts! Does someone mean to say that "vice" is more descriptive or generic than fanciful or arbitrary when used as a skin-trade mark?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2018 @ 4:03am

    Maybe you should do some research and real reporting. Then you would’ve found po.et and not sounded like a raging daft cunt with no brains.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 26 Jan 2018 @ 4:24am

      Re:

      Yes, your random link with no context is something everyone wishes to click on, especially since you've been so thorough and articulate with everything that's actually wrong with the article. This in no way looks like a troll or spam attempts.

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2018 @ 6:53pm

        Re: Re:

        On the other hand, it's close enough to average_joe's usual complaining about an insignificant site to pass off as him instead of a simple spam traffic generator.

        Maybe the AI for spambots is evolving. Or average_joe was never a lawyer and was an AI all along!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2018 @ 8:43pm

        Re: Re:

        There is a fascinating new technology called a "web browser" that lets you see where a hyperlink goes before you follow it. I would provide a Wikipedia link to explain the idea, but you apparently do not like those. However, it would have taken about a tenth as long to hover over the link and see that it went to Wikipedia's page on "Trademark distinctiveness" than it did to type your stupidly snarky comment.

        If you want an elaboration: At least in the US, it is easiest to get trademark protection for something that is not a real word; this is called a "fanciful" mark. The next easiest is a word that has nothing to do with the product or service; this is called an "arbitrary" mark. If the word is "descriptive" of the product or service, it is quite hard to get trademark protection. If the word is a "generic" term for the product or service, you cannot get trademark protection for it.

        Because "vice" is generally taken to be a descriptive term for pornography (among other products and services), Vice Media should get ready for some serious sanctions from the court on the grounds of filing frivolous claims.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 27 Jan 2018 @ 3:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think you misread the threading. PaulT's comment was in reply to the AC who mentioned a domain called poe.et, and did not actually turn it into a hyperlink, much less point to a specific sub-page which could provide some indication of what's to be found there.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 26 Jan 2018 @ 11:01am

    Wait a second..

    How is Visegrips the "lesser of two vices"?

    They are awesome and powerful.

    I can see how Apple Computer feels they have strong claim on the word 'Apple' as applied to computer-related items, even though it's a common word and Apple Music was well known before they started. The word 'Apple' has nothing to do with computers.

    But when you name your company 'Vice' and you are engaged in vice... that's pretty much like naming your restaurant 'Diner' and expecting to have a valid trademark claim.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Docrailgun, 26 Jan 2018 @ 11:27am

    On the other hand...

    ... I assumed that the Vice porn cryptocurrency had some connection to Vice media. I think a reasonable consumer would.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Docitlow (profile), 26 Jan 2018 @ 12:44pm

      Re: On the other hand...

      It's called the Vice Industry Token. A reasonable consumer would not confuse an adult cryptocurrency with a media entity provided they were literate and actually took the time to read the full name. VICE INDUSTRY TOKEN.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 26 Jan 2018 @ 12:03pm

    _There is simply nothing between the two entities that represents a competitive situation._

    But what if Vice Media maybe could have thought in the future about going into that market? You know, like maybe the Dr. Seuss estate might have done a Seuss/Star Trek mashup maybe someday maybe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anilla Vice, 26 Jan 2018 @ 3:35pm

    Eyes, eyes, Bay B.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chanum Glover, 26 Jan 2018 @ 3:53pm

    Perhaps because the Vice token people referred to it as the "vice media token" in multiple press releases and on the token website? Took all of two seconds to check that out.

    reporting is hard

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chanum Glover, 26 Jan 2018 @ 3:55pm

    https://www.cryptoninjas.net/2017/11/25/penthouse-exxxtasy-launch-vice-token-blockchain-based-conten t-platform/


    " The Vice Media Token is built using Smart Media Token protocols being developed by Vice and its partners. What Vice is building is unique and creates a simple engagement-oriented protocol used to facilitate the creation and exchange of tokens between participants in media consumption. Paid blogging ..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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