South Korean crypto exchange Upbit — the country’s biggest — is facing a lawsuit filed by a university foundation alleging patent infringement.

Fast facts:

  • The foundation alleges that Upbit utilized the patent for deposits and withdrawals of virtual assets, the cold (offline) wallet storage of virtual assets, the detection of abnormal virtual asset transactions, and the provision of transaction details to the Financial Intelligence Unit, an office of the country’s main finance sector regulator. It asked the court for an injunction banning Upbit from offering those services it claims as its intellectual property. 
  • Upbit has refuted the allegation, saying it provided the same services before the patent was filed. A spokesperson for Upbit told Forkast.News: “Upbit was launched for the general public in October 2017. It seems clear to us that there is no infringement, even without proving prior use [of the system in question]. If proof is required, it will be very easy to prove prior use because Upbit was released much earlier than the patent filing date.”
  • In response to Upbit’s statement to the media, an official from the foundation told Forkast.News: “Upbit did not provide the same service as the patent before the patent filing date, and we think it has only started to address the problems that would require the patent system while preparing to meet the newest crypto exchange regulations.”
  • The official said: “It would be best to resolve the patent problem by mutual agreement, but if not, we will take strong measures to protect our patent rights.”