ENS lead developer calls out Unstoppable Domain patents on social media

Nick Johnson of ENS posted screenshots of conversations between Unstoppable and ENS on X

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Vladimir Kazakov/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Ethereum Name Service’s lead developer Nick Johnson took to social media to call out Unstoppable Domains on Thursday.

Johnson penned a series of posts on X not only criticizing Unstoppable Domains for the lack of legal backing or binding behind its Web3 Domain Alliance group — which it both founded and runs — but also accused Unstoppable of patenting an innovation allegedly made by ENS.

Johnson claims that ENS and Unstoppable Domains attempted to discuss the situation outside of the social media platform, but “failed” to make headway.

He claims that ENS, in contrast to Unstoppable, “have not pursued patents on our work.”

The issue at hand can be traced back to January when Unstoppable was granted a patent — Resolving Blockchain Domains — based on “innovations that ENS developed and contains no novel innovations of its own,” according to Johnson.

Read more: What is Ethereum Name Service?

“It’s impossible for any organization to rely on such a nonbinding pledge when it concerns core aspects of its business operations. We are thus requesting that Unstoppable Domains put legal weight behind its PR commitment, with an unconditional and irrevocable patent pledge,” Johnson continued.

If the two remain at odds on the issue, then ENS “stands ready to challenge this patent.”

Johnson also included screenshots of alleged communication between Unstoppable and ENS.

According to the post, Unstoppable responded to the initial ENS letter about patents to which Unstoppable said that the pledge proposed by ENS is not “necessary.”

Unstoppable did, however, agree to engage in a “constructive dialogue” but pushed for them to engage in it within the Web3 Domain Alliance instead of directly between the two disputing parties.

In response to Johnson’s open letter, Unstoppable founder Matthew Gould reiterated the open invite to join the Alliance, though Johnson said that the issue was that the patent was not being licensed openly. 

“There are no forward guarantees that can be made that make sense given the changing landscape of the industry. IMO the only solution is to increase collaboration and discussion,” Gould responded. 

“We will keep the door open,” Gould said in a final post. 

Back in July, Unstoppable Domains said it was attempting to expand the Web3 community by integrating ENS domain names and not marking them up. 

The two have been competitors in the past, and the move was not made as part of a collaboration between the two, as clarified to Blockworks this summer.


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