The developers of Coinye — formerly known as Coinye West — have responded to a cease and desist letter from Kanye West with their own cease and desist, insisting that an updated version of their cryptocurrency is unrelated to the singer and now references a "half-man-half-fish hybrid who is wearing sunglasses." Coinye's logo was initially a stylized version of Kanye West superimposed on the back of a gold coin, but West's lawyers complained that the currency's name and image constituted a trademark violation, falsely implying that Coinye was an officially sanctioned product. In response, the Coinye team pushed up its release to the public, but they've also changed the branding in hopes of distancing it enough to avoid a lawsuit.
Upon receipt of your letter, we kindly changed our imagery so not to confuse the general public with your clients image as we appreciate that there may have been a point of contention.
We have now removed any and all references to your client which we feel could mislead someone in to believing that there is in any way a link between the two.
As you can tell from our new community-submitted, updated materials, we make no visual or verbal reference to Kanye West but to a half-man-half-fish hybrid who is wearing sunglasses, again, totally separate from any resemblance to your client.
We request an end to the constant harassment and scare tactics.
Herein, we require the following from your client.
1. Cease and desist from any and all use of the mark 'Coinye' and other related words or phrases containing 'Coinye'. Should you wish to challenge this request, We require with immediate affect that you supply us with any Intellectual Property proof you may own, including but not limited to, promotional material, video, audio, PR material containing the use of the name or terminology 'Coinye' in any capacity.
2.No further communication through our private email addresses shall be made in an empty [sic] to strong-arm myself and/or any other individual who operates a website or service containing references to 'Coinye' in an attempt to halt efforts on this open source project.
I do not see that there is a likelihood of confusion between the Trademark set forth by your client Kanye West and those being presented by under the Meme Crypto Currency Coinye Coins ("The Gay Fish"). The official site states, and has always stated, that we are not affilated with Kanye West. (See the FAQ section.) These sites are used to provide people with Coinye Coins so that they may purchase "Fish Sticks For Their Mouth."
The original domain, "CoinyeWest.com," now redirects to a site in India, and the developers say that Coinye is unlikely to be confused for a legitimate Kanye venture and is a community project, not a commercial venture. Without the "West" and cartoon image, there's a looser connection to Kanye's public image, but he's clearly still the coin's inspiration. Brad Rose of Pryor Cashman LLP, who filed the original letter, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.