‘Coinye’ virtual currency shuts down over trademark infringement suit

The developers had originally ignored a cease-and-desist from the rapper’s lawyers

Kanye West photo via Wikipedia

It was “Bound 2” happen eventually, but Kanye West-themed virtual currency “Coinye” is dead and buried thanks to a trademark infringement lawsuit from the rapper himself.

The New York Post reports that on Jan. 15, the developers of the virtual currency posted on their website “COINYE IS DEAD. You win, Kanye.” The developers also posted on Twitter that they would be back, saying “#BLAMEKAYNE Coinye devs have dispersed. New ownership, better things coming.”

The virtual currency dispersal comes one day after a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by West’s lawyers in a Manhattan federal court. In the suit, West’s lawyers claimed that the developers used Kanye’s likeness without his permission. West’s lawyers had filed a cease-and-desist order on Jan. 6, just before the currency’s launch, threatening legal action.

However, the developers had ignored the cease-and-desist order and went on a media tour to promote their currency. “We want to release this to the public before the man can try to crush it,” one developer told The Wall Street Journal. “They’ll still come after us, but that’s OK.”

However, it does not seem that West’s lawyers will be satisfied with the mere shutting down of the virtual currency. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for use of West’s likeness.

“While we are encouraged that some of the websites … have been deactivated in light of the filing of the lawsuit, those that have profited from this illegal exploitation will continue to be vigorously pursued for damages,” said Brad Rose, Kanye West’s lawyer in the case.

Virtual currency has become a popular topic for worldwide governments recently, albeit for much different reasons. U.S. Congress held a November meeting to discuss potential regulation for virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, while the European Banking Authority issued a December warning cautioning those using the currency against the risk of fraud.


Haven’t gotten your fill of some of the strangest lawsuits around? Then check out 6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines from the first half of January!

Assistant Editor

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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