Matter Labs Pulls ZK Trademark Application After Backlash


Matter Labs, the corporate entity behind Ethereum layer 2 scaling protocol zkSync, has abandoned plans to register the term “ZK” as a trademark.

In a tweet Sunday, the firm said that it had taken the decision to “drop all trademark applications for the term ‘ZK’,”as a result of conversations with those who had reached out following the announcement of its trademark application.

Matter Labs stated that, “it would be impossible to agree on a group of people perceived as credibly neutral by nearly everyone,” adding that, “What could have worked for Ethereum would not necessarily work for the entire world.”

The company made its announcement late Sunday night and the application status on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website has not yet been updated. The application was initially filed on February 27, 2024. And according to the USPTO, processing can take as long as 18 months.

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Last week, Matter Labs applied to trademark the term “ZK,” short for “zero-knowledge,” a form of cryptographic proof used to demonstrate that something is known without directly revealing the known information.

Matter Labs faced a robust response from competitors including StarkWare, Algorand and Polygon, who issued a group statement condemning the firm’s move as “a transparent attempt by a corporation to claim ownership over something that does not belong to it.”

In the statement posted to Github, signed by crypto industry figures including two co-inventors of ZK proofs, the signatories accused Matter Labs of “exploiting the legal system to annex a public good,” violating the ethos of crypto and academia.

In a tweet, Matter Labs claimed that it had applied for a trademark in order to ensure that “the term “ZK” can be used freely in the context of “ZK Sync”, “ZK Stack” and other related names,” noting that “trademarks are the only legal tool available for this today.”

Edited by Stacy Elliott.





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