In March 2021, Bitcoin software firm Lightning Labs and blockchain startup Tari Labs agreed to halt development of Lightning’s Taro protocol, after courts converted a temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction. The decision was made after Tari Labs claimed that the name Taro infringed its trademark rights as it was too similar to its own protocol called Tari, which is a US registered trademark.
The temporary restraining order was initially issued on March 13, 2021 by California District Court Judge William Orrick, and prevented Lightning Labs from making any updates or announcements regarding the Taro protocol. The court’s decision to convert the order to a preliminary injunction now means that development of the protocol will be halted until a court decision is reached.
As part of the agreement, Lightning Labs may not make any updates to the Taro protocol or merge internal updates with the public open source code of the protocol. You are also not allowed to announce or launch any protocol milestones. However, Lightning Labs may respond to communications from non-Lightning developers and users, as long as Lightning Labs does not use those communications to further the development of Taro.
Lightning Labs may still refer to Taro as the “former protocol name” for announcements related to the protocol name change, as long as it is not “confusingly similar” to Taro or Tari. Tari Labs first filed a trademark infringement complaint against Lightning Labs in December 2020, alleging that both companies “compete in the same digital blockchain ecosystem” and provide similar, “in some cases identical” services.
The Taro protocol is an ambitious project that Lightning Labs announced on April 5, 2021, in the midst of a $70 million round of funding. Its goal is to take advantage of Bitcoin’s Taproot update and allow stablecoins to be transferred over the Lightning Network, a layer 2 solution to the Bitcoin blockchain that allows for faster and cheaper transactions than those executed on the base layer.
The news that the temporary restraining order became a preliminary injunction sparked a backlash on Twitter, with Tari Labs co-founder Riccardo Spagni defending the lawsuit, arguing that the letters “I” and “O” are the same. close together on a computer keyboard. to cause confusion. He also mentioned that Tari had offered to finance Taro’s rebranding a year ago. Tari’s co-founder, Naveen Jain, also defended the lawsuit, suggesting that it’s “hard to call something ‘frivolous’ when a judge issues a temporary restraining order in his favor.”