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28 May, 2014 15:09

​Mt. Gox operator mulls Bitcoin trademark sell-off

​Mt. Gox operator mulls Bitcoin trademark sell-off

Tibanne, the holding company of collapsed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, hopes to raise at least $1 million by selling its trademarks in Japan and the EU. The deal will include the bitcoins.com domain name and the word 'bitcoin'.

Mark Karpeles, Tibanne’s chief executive and former boss of Mt. Gox, said the company had no use for the trademarks and therefore planned to sell them, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Approval to use the bitcoin trademark in Japan and the EU was received in 2012 and will expire in 2021 in the EU and in 2022 in Japan, if the owner does not renew it.

Mt. Gox, which at one point hosted 80 percent of the world's bitcoin trades, collapsed after reporting 850,000 bitcoins stolen. The company claims the theft occurred in cyber-attack. Later the exchange reported the recovery of about 200,000 of the missing bitcoins.

It is unclear if the company will use the money from the sale to pay back Mt. Gox's creditors. Tibanne has no obligation to repay the 127,000 creditors of Mt. Gox, according to lawyers familiar with the bankruptcy proceedings of the exchange.

However, Mt. Gox creditors still hope Tibanne will use at least part of the proceeds to help them.

"Even though the company is not obligated to, it should repay customers with assets it has. That's the way it should be. For anyone it's obvious that Tibanne and Mt. Gox were operating as one company," the WSJ quoted Keiichi Hida, a Mt. Gox creditor.

Mr. Karpeles was the former Mt. Gox CEO and the two companies share the same office address in Tokyo's Shibuya district.

Potential buyers would also have to think about the value they could realise from the trademarks.

Japanese lawyers not involved in the Mt. Gox case see obstacles to making any money from a deal since the name bitcoin was first coined by a person or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.