In 2018, Telegram filed a lawsuit against Lantah LLC for its use of the GRAM ticker. In the lawsuit, Telegram alleged that the GRAM ticker was already in use by the Telegram Open Network (TON). The company claimed that it had filed for the GRAM trademark in 2017 for TON, which had managed to raise $1.7 billion with the GRAM tokens ICO.
Details of the Lawsuit
Lantah LLC is a small company that was founded in 2017. The company’s goal is to create a distributed marketplace that supports crypto payments. In the lawsuit, Telegram had claimed that Lantah used the GRAM ticker to piggyback on the successful TON ICO. However, Lantah disputed the issue and they provided proof that their GRAM trademark was registered in 2017.
Later on, Telegram decided to drop the lawsuit against Lantah LLC. Now the messaging giant had been ordered to pay the legal fees for Lantah LLC. They decided to drop the lawsuit after TON failed to stand up to US regulatory pressure.
ON November 2, 2020, Telegram received approval to dismiss the lawsuit as long as they paid the legal bill of Lantah, which was set at $618,240 and costs set at $6,773.35. Originally, Lantah had requested that it receive $1,615,140 in legal fees. Since the lawsuit was dropped without prejudice, Telegram has the right to go after Lantah in the future over the copyright claims.
Telegram’s Legal Woes
Telegram’s legal problems began in 2019 when the SEC began pursuing them for violation of federal securities laws. The company had managed to raise $1.7 billion via an ICO in early 2018 via the sale of the GRAM tokens. They planned to use the funds to operate TON, a blockchain network. However, US financial regulators went after the project aggressively for the sale of unregistered securities.
The SEC filed a lawsuit against Telegram just before they could launch the GRAM tokens. After a protracted legal battle, Telegram decided to drop their lawsuit. Besides that, they agreed to pay an $18 million fine for violation of federal securities laws. Additionally, they will have to reimburse investors in the ICO.
Telegram Leaves TON Project
In May 2020, Telegram announced that they had left the TON project, which marked the end of the project. They made the decision because of mounting legal challenges from the SEC. The decision to shutter the project came after a federal judge issued an injunction barring the company from releasing the TON blockchain and the GRAM tokens.
In a statement released by the company CEO at the time, he warned the public not to trust any projects using the TON name. He also criticized the US for bringing the TON project to its knees. He claimed that the nation’s influence over the global financial and technology industries is what gave them the power to stop projects that were outside the country.
The latest decision by Telegram to withdraw from the lawsuit shows that they have given up on the blockchain ambitions. It also shows how a lack of regulatory clarity has prevented the development of revolutionary projects that could potentially impact millions of people globally.
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