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DeFi organisation requests for ‘patent troll’ to stop pursuing DeFi standards

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A decentralized finance (DeFi) advocacy group has taken action by submitting a petition to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Their objective is to prompt a review of a patent owned by a company that they’ve accused of engaging in “patent trolling”—a term used to describe firms that seek to profit through patent-related lawsuits.

In a blog post dated September 11, the DeFi Education Fund (DEF) announced that on September 7, they submitted an extensive, over 90-page petition to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Their goal is to challenge a patent currently held by True Return Systems.

This patent, granted back in 2018, asserts ownership over a process described as “linking off-chain data to a blockchain.” Amanda Tuminelli, DEF’s legal head, disclosed this information in a Twitter post on September 11.

Tuminelli further alleged that True Return Systems attempted to market their patent as a nonfungible token (NFT). Failing to find a buyer, they initiated legal proceedings against two DeFi protocols, MakerDAO and Compound Finance, in October.

“It’s evident that True Return’s intent was to name defendants who couldn’t respond to the complaint, thus securing a default judgment,” Tuminelli asserted.

She contended that True Return might endeavor to enforce the court’s ruling against token holders and repeat this process with other protocols that lack the means to challenge them legally.

DEF maintained that the technology covered by True Return’s patent wasn’t groundbreaking at the time it was granted. They cited similar existing technologies such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and decentralized storage platforms like Sia, Storj, and Swarm.

Cointelegraph reached out to True Return Systems for comment, and while they acknowledged the request, they did not provide an immediate response.

DEF clarified that their petition with the USPTO aims to safeguard the ability to use and develop open-source software, prevent any potential legal actions by True Return against cryptocurrency projects, and assist in the legal defense of MakerDAO and Compound.

True Return has a three-month window to choose whether to respond to the petition. After six months, the USPTO must decide whether to proceed with reviewing the patent, and it has a total of 12 months to determine whether the patent should be revoked.

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