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UK COURT AWARDS BITCOIN CREATOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT IN BITCOIN COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CLAIM

Updated: Jul 16

Anonymous Bitcoin blogger “Cøbra” stays in the shadows and fails to defend itself in the face of Dr Wright’s High Court claim.


London 28 June 2021 – London’s High Court today granted ONTIER LLP client and Bitcoin creator, Dr Craig Wright, default judgment in his copyright infringement action against ‘Cøbra’, the pseudonymous operator and publisher of the bitcoin.org website.


The bitcoin.org website, which promotes the digital asset referred to as ‘Bitcoin Core’, is hosting and publishing a copy of Dr Wright’s academic White Paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, without Dr Wright’s consent. Dr Wright owns the copyright to the White Paper, which he authored and first released in October 2008 under the now-famous moniker ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.


ONTIER, on Dr Wright’s behalf, had previously written to ‘Cøbra’, informing them that they were infringing Dr Wright’s copyright and requesting that they remove the White Paper from the website. ‘Cøbra’, whose real name remains unknown, refused to comply with this request.


Proceedings were issued on 24 February 2021 in the Intellectual Property List of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales. On 21 April 2021, Dr Wright was granted permission to serve ‘Cøbra’ out of the jurisdiction by email. Following deemed service of process on 26 April 2021, ‘Cøbra’ had until 18 May 2021 to file any acknowledgment of service or defence to the proceedings. The Defendant failed to do so and, on 25 May 2021, Dr Wright applied to the High Court for judgment in default of an acknowledgment of service or defence, pursuant to r.12(3)(1) of the Civil Procedure Rules.


His Honour Judge Hodge QC, sitting as a Judge of the Chancery Division, heard Dr Wright’s application today 28 June 2021, following which the Court granted Dr Wright’s request: (1) for an injunction prohibiting the Defendant from infringing Dr Wright’s copyright in the United Kingdom whether by making the White Paper available for download from the bitcoin.org website or in any other way; and (2) for an order requiring the Defendant to publish a copy of the Court’s order on the bitcoin.org website for 6 months. The Court also ordered that there be an inquiry as to damages caused by the Defendant’s infringement of Dr Wright’s copyright in the UK and that ‘Cøbra’ makes an interim payment on account of Dr Wright’s cost of the proceedings.


The hearing was conducted remotely and in accordance with the Court’s COVID-19 guidelines. Although the Defendant (or their representative) attended the hearing, they informed the Court that they did not wish to make oral submissions, preferring instead to maintain their anonymity.


Simon Cohen, Senior Associate at ONTIER LLP and a member of the legal team which advised Dr Wright on this action, comments:


“This is an important development in Dr Wright’s quest to obtain judicial vindication of his copyright in his White Paper. Although he has secured victory today by default because no defence was forthcoming, it is notable that the English court has nevertheless injuncted ‘Cøbra’ from making the White Paper accessible in the UK.”

He continues:

“Dr Wright does not wish to restrict access to his Whitepaper. However, he does not agree that it should be used by supporters and developers of alternative assets, such as Bitcoin Core, to promote or otherwise misrepresent those assets as being Bitcoin given that they do not support or align with the vision for Bitcoin as he set out in his White Paper.”

Dr Wright is being advised by ONTIER’s Head of Litigation, Paul Ferguson, with Partner, Derek Stinson, and Senior Associate, Simon Cohen. Alastair Wilson QC and Michael Hicks of Hogarth Chambers are instructed as Counsel.


ENDS


Notes to Editors:


This litigation is the latest in a series of legal claims issued by ONTIER LLP on behalf of Dr Wright and his associated entities to uphold his right to protect his lawfully-held digital assets and his reputation as the creator of Bitcoin and his associated intellectual property.


ONTIER LLP is a law firm which specialises in international commercial disputes and transactions.

The firm is increasingly recognised for its high-profile and market leading Bitcoin related and cybercrime litigation and has an established and growing practice for recovering lost, stolen and hacked Bitcoin. Recently, ONTIER LLP launched a landmark claim against the developers of BTC, BCH, BCH ABC and BSV to restore control to addresses containing Bitcoin and other digital assets with a current value in excess of £3.5 billion. The firm recently acted in successful English High Court proceedings against Reliantco Investments Ltd, a digital asset and securities exchange which blocked and seized a substantial amount from a client’s trading account. ONTIER LLP was able to recover the client’s full investment, its unrealised gains and loss of profit (that the client would have earned from intended investments had its funds not been unlawfully withheld).


The firm has offices in 18 cities in 13 countries, giving a truly international capability.


Press Enquiries:


PR Advisers to ONTIER LLP - Bell Yard Communications: +44 207 936 2021 | BellYard@Bell-Yard.com

Melanie Riley | melanie@bell-yard.com | Mob: 07775 591244

Louise Beeson | louise@bell-yard.com | Mob: 07768 956997

Sarah Peters | sarah@bell-yard.com | Mob: 07977 997927

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