The DeFi Education Fund says a patent owned by True Return Systems is being used to
try to profit from lawsuits against decentralized protocols.
A decentralized finance (DeFi) advocacy body has petitioned the United States Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO) to review a patent owned by a company it has accused of being a a
“patent troll” — a firm that aims to profit from patent lawsuits.
In a Sept. 11 blog post, the DeFi Education Fund (DEF) said on Sept. 7 that it filed an over 90-page
petition to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a bid to cancel a patent owned by True Return Systems.
Granted in 2018, the patent lays claim to a process for “linking off-chain data to a blockchain,” DEF
legal chief Amanda Tuminelli said in a Sept. 11 X (Twitter) post.
Tuminelli claimed True Return tried to sell its patent as a nonfungible token (NFT). After no buyer,
it filed suit against the DeFi protocols MakerDAO and Compound Finance in October.
She claimed True Return would try to enforce the court’s ruling against token holders and repeat the
process with other protocols “that either can’t challenge them in court or don’t have the resources to do so.”
DEF claimed True Return’s tech in the patent isn’t new at the time it was granted and claims to
highlight similar existing tech such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) along
with the decentralized storage platforms Sia, Storj and Swarm.
True Return Systems acknowledged Cointelegraph’s request for comment but did not immediately provide a comment.
DEF said it launched the petition with USPTO to defend the ability to use and develop open source
software, to stop any potential plans by True Return to sue crypto projects
and help MakerDAO and Compound’s legal defence.
True Return has three months to optionally respond to the petition, after six months the USPTO must
make a decision if it will move forward with reviewing the patent where it
has 12 months to decide if the patent should be cancelled.