Popular encrypted messaging platform Telegram proposed launching a native cryptocurrency dubbed GRAM recently. However, the project was dumped due to regulatory issues with the United States authorities, particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As a result, Telegram also pulled out from the GRAM trademark lawsuit filed against Lantah, a cryptocurrency startup.
The messaging platform was ordered to pay over $600,000 to Lantah for the expenses incurred during the case.
Telegram’s GRAM trademark lawsuit against Lantah
According to a recent document, the messaging platform opened the GRAM trademark lawsuit against the cryptocurrency company in 2018. At that time, Telegram accused the company of infringing the GRAM trademark and unfair competition. The lawsuit alleged that the digital currency company intended to launch its native cryptocurrency with the same GRAM crypto-ticker.
Lantah, however, claims top priority and ownership over the GRAM trademark. The company argued that it already filed for the trademark name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office three years ago. While both entities continued their dispute over the GRAM trademark, Telegram was also facing massive backlash from the US SEC.
Early in 2018, Telegram raised about $1.7 billion via an initial coin offering (ICO) for its blockchain network, TON. Afterward, the messaging platform began facing several lawsuits from the US regulators who claimed that Telegram offered unregistered securities to investors. After several struggles against the regulators, Telegram later decided to dump the blockchain project. It also paid roughly $18 million to repay the early-stage GRAM token investors.
A $625K Compensation
As Telegram eventually dumped the project, it also – voluntarily – withdrew from the GRAM trademark lawsuit against Lantah. Accordingly, a United States district court ordered the platform to pay about $625,000 to the cryptocurrency company. This comes as compensation for all the expenses incurred by Lantah while trying to defend their trademark claim. Lantah argued that its attorneys spent over 1,000 hours while defending the case.
Lantah initially wanted Telegram to pay at the rate of $900 per hour. However, the law court reduced the rate to $600 per hour in accordance with the standard market rate. The messaging platform was also asked to pay $6,737.35 as an additional cost to the cryptocurrency company.
In the end, it is safe to say Telegram’s venture into cryptocurrency is a costly affair. All of the initial plans had to be scrapped over time. Moreover, the company lost a lot of money over this approach. For the time being, it is unclear what will come next for Telegram and its investors.