Encrypted messaging platform, Telegram has to pay around $625,000 in legal fees for Lantah LLC, a cryptocurrency startup, following the settlement of a lawsuit over the GRAM trademark infringement.
Telegram sued the small startup in 2018 for using the GRAM crypto-ticker, alleging trademark infringement, and unfair competition. It further alleged that the startup was trying to launch its own GRAM token.
In response to Telegram’s lawsuit, Lantah launched a countersuit asserting priority over the GRAM trademark as it applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office for the same in late-2017.
However, the lawsuit was voluntarily dropped by Telegram last August as the messaging platform abandoned its plan to launch the TON project amid backlash from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
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According to the November 2 court ruling, a US district court ordered Telegram to pay $618,240 in attorney fees incurred by Lantah while defending itself over the past couple of years. Though the startup demanded fees for 1,030.4 hours at $900 per hour, the court granted the compensation at $600 per hour, maintaining the standard market rate.
Moreover, Telegram will pay an additional $6,737.35 in costs to Lantah.
As the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, Telegram will have the right to drag Lantah again to the court in the future over trademark violations.
Telegram and GRAM: An Ill-Fated Project
Telegram raised $1.7 billion in a closed-door initial coin offering (ICO) in early 2018 for launching its own blockchain network, called TON. However, the company faced massive backlash from the US financial regulator, which alleged that the company sold unregistered securities.
The SEC filed a lawsuit against Telegram just ahead of the GRAM token distribution to the investors, which delayed the process multiple times. After a muddy battle between the two, Telegram shut its ambitious blockchain project. Furthermore, the company had to pay a fine of $18 million and refund the ICO investors.