Nick Johnson, the lead developer at Ethereum Name Service (ENS), has publicly criticized Unstoppable Domains for allegedly restricting trade in the Web3 domain sphere by pursuing patents on its work. In a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter), Johnson emphasized ENS’s commitment to fostering an open-field environment for development on their network, highlighting that all their work is licensed under open-source licenses, and their standards are publicly available for anyone to implement.
Johnson pointed out that, in contrast, Unstoppable Domains has started pursuing patents on its work, a move that he sees as contradictory to the principles of open innovation. While Unstoppable Domains has stated its support for open innovation, Johnson expressed concerns about the company’s decision to pursue patents, as patents bestow legal rights to an invention and can limit others from replicating or utilizing the innovation.
Despite Unstoppable Domains asserting its pledge to the Web3 Domain Alliance through a press release, Johnson dismissed this as insufficient, stating that press releases are not legally binding. He emphasized ENS’s commitment to ensuring open innovation in the Web3 domain space and reiterated that ENS will not be pursuing patents on its works.
The dispute between ENS and Unstoppable Domains highlights the ongoing challenges and debates surrounding intellectual property, patents, and the principles of open-source development in the evolving landscape of decentralized technologies and blockchain. The outcome of this disagreement may have implications for the broader Web3 community and the approach taken by projects in the space regarding intellectual property rights.