Saturday, June 22, 2024

Matter Labs Retreats on ZK Trademark Applications After Industry Pushback

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Matter Labs Backtracks on ZK Trademark Applications After Community Outcry

Matter Labs, the team behind the Ethereum scaling solution zkSync, has reversed course on its attempt to trademark the term “ZK.” This decision comes after prominent researchers in the zero-knowledge proof (ZK) field strongly condemned the move.

On June 2nd, Matter Labs announced it was abandoning all trademark applications for “ZK.” This decision followed a public letter from leading ZK researchers on May 30th, urging Matter Labs to reconsider. The letter argued that ZK technology should remain a “public good” accessible to all, not something a single company could claim ownership over.

The letter went further, stating that Matter Labs’ attempt to trademark ZK went against the core principles of the cryptocurrency industry. Signatories included some of the biggest names in the field, like Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali (co-inventors of ZK-proofs), Eli Ben-Sasson (CEO of StarkWare), and Sandeep Nailwal (co-founder of Polygon Labs).

Matter Labs’ Initial Defense

Matter Labs initially defended its actions, claiming the trademarks were needed to protect terms like “ZK Sync” and “ZK Stack” specifically used by their company. They argued that trademarks don’t confer ownership over the general term itself, but only how it’s used in relation to specific products or services.

Alex Gluchowski, Matter Labs CEO, even went so far as to say he rejects the concept of intellectual property altogether. He claimed trademarks were solely defensive measures to prevent confusion and protect their brand from bad actors.

Global Trademark Applications

However, the ZK research community pointed out that Matter Labs had filed trademark applications for “ZK” and related terms in nine different countries. This raised concerns about the company’s true intentions.

Ultimately, the pressure from the ZK research community proved too strong. Matter Labs acknowledged the difficulty of finding a neutral body to oversee such trademarks and opted to abandon their applications altogether. This move ensures that “ZK” remains a public good, free for anyone to use and contribute to in the advancement of blockchain technology.

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Author: Sb

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. Cryptocurrency investments are subject to market risks, and individuals should seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

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