A fiery clash has erupted in the blockchain domain arena as Unstoppable Domains and Ethereum Name Service (ENS) lock horns over patent rights, triggering a controversy challenging open-source innovation in Web3.
The Patent Predicament
At the center of the debate lies Unstoppable Domains’ patent titled “Resolving Blockchain Domain Names,” granted in January. This move has stirred considerable controversy, especially from ENS, a prominent player in the blockchain domain realm.
The patent’s resemblance to the “Sunrise Phase” concept from the DNS world has fueled tensions further. ENS remains concerned, highlighting the significance of permissionless innovation and open standards in the burgeoning Web3 ecosystem.
ENS Pushes for Legal Commitment
ENS has questioned the effectiveness of Unstoppable Domains’ patent pledge to the Web3 Domain Alliance, stressing the need for a legally binding commitment. They argue that without an unconditional and irrevocable patent pledge, there could be chilling effects on innovation, given the alleged derivation of Unstoppable Domains’ patents from ENS’s inventions.
Unstoppable Domains’ Stance and the Future Path
CEO Matthew Gould responded, acknowledging a potential shift toward patents or trademarks in the Web3 domain platform. He invited ENS to join the Web3 Domain Alliance, aiming to facilitate proactive discussions in this realm.
Both Unstoppable Domains and ENS hold influential positions in the Web3 domain space. Unstoppable Domains, renowned for domain extensions like .crypto, .blockchain, and .nft, expanded its offerings to include .eth domains, showcasing its growing influence in a field once dominated by ENS.