'JRR Token' is a punny name for a cryptocurrency, but Tolkien's estate is not humored The estate of fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien has successfully blocked a cryptocurrency called "JRR Token."

'JRR Token' is a punny name for a cryptocurrency, but Tolkien's estate is not humored

'JRR Token' is a punny name for a cryptocurrency, but Tolkien's estate is not humored

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1059600383/1059600384" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The estate of fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien has successfully blocked a cryptocurrency called "JRR Token."

KELSEY SNELL, HOST:

The cryptocurrency world is full of inside jokes, bad puns and other wordplay. It's also full of trademark disputes. In the latest one, the estate of fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien sued a cryptocurrency developer for naming his blockchain invention JRR Token - tokens being a common cryptocurrency term.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LORD OF THE RING: RETURN OF THE KING")

ANDY SERKIS: (As Gollum) My precious.

SNELL: The developer Matthew Jensen said in legal papers that his currency amounted to a parody of the literary legend's name. What's more, he said, those first three initials did not refer to John Ronald Reuel, as with the Oxford don, but instead journey through risk to reward. The World Intellectual Property Organization was unmoved by Jensen's statement. Siding with Tolkien's estate, it stated that the parody attempt was, quote, "clever but not humorous," basically destroying this argument as if it were a ring falling straight into the fires of Mount Doom.

(SOUNDBITE OF VOLCANO ERUPTING)

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.