updated 04:52 pm EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
Karpeles owned Tibanne looking to package Japan, EU trademarks for $1 million
The holding company that has taken over the bankrupt exchange Mt. Gox is looking to offload its trademarks on 'bitcoin' and associated websites. The trademarks registered in Japan and the European Union are included according to a statement from an executive in the company. Tibanne hopes the packaged trademarks will fetch around $1 million in a sale.
Tibanne, a company that was created and owned by former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, was granted the trademarks in 2012. According to statements from the Wall Street Journal, the company wishes to sell the trademarks because "it had no use for them." A buyer would be able to renew the trademarks before they expire in 2022 in Japan and 2021 in Europe.
Information wasn't given what the funding would be used for, but the company would be under no obligation to any of the creditors involved with Mt. Gox. This includes the numerous members of the exchange that saw their wealth vanish when the it was hacked. The subsequent bankruptcy filing of the company put losses at over $400 million. The outstanding creditors are said to be in the range of 127,000.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, one such creditor called attention to the idea that anyone could see there was an element of collusion going on with Karpeles's involvement with both companies. "Even though the company is not obligated to, it should repay customers with assets it has," said Keiichi Hida. "That's the way it should be. For anyone it's obvious that Tibanne and Mt. Gox were operating as one company."
The initial trademarks were filed in 2011 as a way to deter any profit being derived from use of the terms. The company wanted to keep the bitcoin term free, keeping with the idea of the open currency. Even if a buyer turned up that wanted to use the trademark for monetary gain, there may be a problem since it originated from a 2008 paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto. It has also become a common word used to describe Internet currencies, taking on a life of its own as the popularity of cryptocurrencies has increased.