Matter Labs Withdraws ZK Trademark Amid Industry Backlash

Matter Labs, the developers behind the Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution known as zkSync, have decided to cease their efforts to secure intellectual property rights for the term “ZK,” which stands for “zero knowledge” proofs. This decision came after backlash from prominent figures in the ZK community who criticized Matter Labs for its actions, arguing that ZK technologies should be publicly accessible.

On June 2, Matter Labs acknowledged in a public statement that they were withdrawing all trademark applications for the term. The firm admitted that it would be infeasible to identify a group that everyone would agree is neutral. They cited that what might work for Ethereum might not be suitable for broader global applications.

In their plea, proponents of ZK technologies emphasized that ZKs should remain public assets rather than become the intellectual property of a private company. They contended that any attempt to monopolize a public good through legal means would violate the fundamental principles of the cryptocurrency industry. The letter, dated May 30, warned that if Matter Labs continued with its trademark applications, it would alienate itself from the community it purports to serve.

The public letter was endorsed by seven notable figures, including Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali, two of the inventors of ZK-proofs; StarkWare CEO Eli Ben-Sasson; and Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon Labs. These influential voices underscored that monopolizing ZK terminology was incompatible with the collaborative and open ethos of the crypto ecosystem.

Matter Labs initially applied for these trademarks with the intention of protecting phrases like “ZK Sync” and “ZK Stack” associated with their brand. They clarified that possessing a trademark does not grant ownership over a word or phrase universally, but specifically in relation to their goods and services. This, they argued, would prevent confusion and dishonesty in the market.

In a response to a post last week, Alex Gluchowski, the founder and CEO of Matter Labs, expressed his disdain for the concept of intellectual property. He reiterated that any trademarks registered by the firm were defensive measures meant to protect against confusion and deception surrounding their product offerings.

These defensive trademarks aimed to ensure that no other entity could exploit the ZK terminology in a way that would mislead consumers. Matter Labs indicated that past experiences had shown a need for these protective measures, though they now recognize that pursuing such trademarks might have been a mistake.

The firm had taken steps to register ZK-related trademarks in nine different countries, showing the extent of their initial interest in securing this intellectual property. The strong opposition from leading ZK researchers has led them to reconsider and ultimately abandon their trademark applications, prioritizing the greater good of the community.

Ismail Bohon

Ismail Bohon

29 thoughts on “Matter Labs Withdraws ZK Trademark Amid Industry Backlash

  1. Trying to trademark a fundamental tech term like ‘ZK’ is just plain greedy. Pretty disappointed in Matter Labs.

  2. Really disappointed in Matter Labs 😡. Trying to trademark ‘ZK’ felt like a selfish move. The community deserves better!

  3. Matter Labs moving to protect ‘ZK’ through trademarks felt like a betrayal to the ethos of the crypto world. Not okay.

  4. A wise decision by Matter Labs, proving that collaboration and open access trump monopolizing technilogy. Much appreciated!

  5. Well played, Matter Labs! Abandoning the trademark push shows your dedication to the greater good. We appreciate it!

  6. Very uncool of Matter Labs to try and own ‘ZK’ terms. Happy they got the backlash they did. Let’s keep tech open! 👎

  7. This whole trademark debacle was unnecessary. Matter Labs, you need to listen to the community before making such moves.

  8. Congrats to Matter Labs for making the right choice. This sets a great precedent for respecting community-driven innovation.

  9. So grateful for Matter Labs decision. Keeping the ZK tech landscape open benefits everyone in the long run.

  10. A huge victory for the ZK community! Matter Labs has showcased their commitment to decentralization and shared progress.

  11. Incredible news! Matter Labs’ decision goes a long way in fostering trust and collaboration within the ZK tech sphere. Kudos!

  12. Great move! This is exactly the kind of principled decision-making the crypto community values. Good job Matter Labs!

  13. Matter Labs trying to secure ZK as their own might have been a huge misstep. Not the kind of leadership we need in this space. 😤

  14. Brilliant decision by Matter Labs. This action solidifies their commitment to the community and the spirit of decentralization.

  15. Really proud of the ZK community for standing up and preserving the public access to these important technologies. Well done, everyone!

  16. Thank you, Matter Labs, for listening to the community. This decision strengthens our collective goal of decentralized and open projects.

  17. Wow, Matter Labs really overstepped with this trademark nonsense. Glad they backed down, but the damage is already done. 🤦‍♂️

  18. A huge thank you to Matter Labs for making this decision. It’s moves like these that shape a positive future for blockchain.

  19. Thoroughly impressed by Matter Labs’ decision to drop the trademark applications. Here’s to continued transparency and collaboration.

  20. Why did Matter Labs think they could get away with this? The backlash was deserved. Let ZK remain open and accessible!

  21. Such a positive move by Matter Labs! Keeping ZK technology public is essential for ongoing innovation. Great decision!

  22. Awesome decision by Matter Labs! This shows how impactful community feedback can be. Hats off!

  23. Its inspiring to see Matter Labs stepping back for the greater good. This shows true leadership and integrity.

  24. Wonderful to see community input being taken seriously. Matter Labs, youve gained a lot of respect with this move.

  25. Feeling optimistic about the future of ZK tech thanks to Matter Labs’ thoughtful decision. Community matters, and they showed that today!

  26. Matter Labs should focus on improving their tech instead of trying to claim ownership over ZK terms. What a waste of time and energy!

  27. Trying to monopolize ‘ZK’ is against everything the crypto community stands for. Matter Labs, do better.

  28. So glad to see Matter Labs aligning with the open ethos of the crypto world. A big win for everyone involved.

  29. Great to see Matter Labs aligning with the foundational principles of the crypto universe. Open source and community-driven!

Leave a Reply