Ripple Labs Inc. is being sued in an Australian court for allegedly infringing a trademark belonging to several local banks. A lawsuit filed by the New Payments Platform Australia (NPPA), a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Australia and 13 domestic banks, claims that Ripple copied its PayID brand.
NPPA’s service has been in existence for more than two years, helping to facilitate instant payments across 68 million Australian bank accounts. Ripple, issuers of the XRP cryptocurrency, launched its cross-border payments service, also called PayID, in June, in partnership with 40 businesses.
According to a report by The Age, a local publication, NPPA is seeking both damages and a permanent injunction preventing Ripple from using the PayID brand in Australia. The payments platform alleges that the American crypto firm lifted its registered trademark to offer closely related services.
Ripple has provisionally agreed to geoblock its service from Australia, in an initial hearing at the country’s Federal Court this week, the paper reported.
“Ripple’s service is clearly offered under a mark that is substantially identical with or deceptively similar to the NPPA PayID registered trademark and in relation to the same or similar services,” said NPPA in its lawsuit.
The banks, which include ANZ, Westpac and NAB, claim Ripple’s PayID service infringes the local Trademarks Act. They say it “constitutes misleading and deceptive behaviour” under Australian Consumer Law and the Australian Securities and Investment Commissions Act.
NPPA said the service could “irrevocably damage” its brand. It alleges Ripple’s PayID may also be used to facilitate illegal activities “such as money laundering, terrorism financing and human rights abuse”.
Ripple’s XRP digital currency is the world’s third largest, with a market capitalization of $12.25 billion. During the April to June 2020 quarter, the San Francisco-based company reported that over-the-counter sales of XRP soared 1,760% to $32.55 million from $1.75 million the previous quarter.
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