Crypto Open Patent Alliance v Wright: success for Jonathan Hough KC in decision on the creation of Bitcoin

News & Judgments
15 March 2024

The six-week trial of Crypto Open Patent Alliance v Wright has just concluded in the Chancery Division, with 4 New Square Chambers’ Jonathan Hough KC acting for Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), leading Jonathan Moss of Hogarth Chambers and instructed by Bird & Bird (Phil Sherrell, Tristan Sherliker, Ning-Ning Li and Will Wortley).

The trial concerned a single issue: whether Dr Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of the Bitcoin system.

Since 2016, Dr Wright has been making his claim to be Satoshi.  He has asserted intellectual property rights against numerous individuals and companies working on the development of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology.  COPA, a non-profit cryptocurrency group that seeks to prevent patent hoarding and obstruction of innovation, launched a claim against Dr Wright to prove that he did not invent the Bitcoin system.

On 14 March 2024, at the end of the trial, Mr Justice Mellor announced his decision, saying that “the evidence is overwhelming” and concluding that Dr Wright had not written the Bitcoin White Paper, authored the original Bitcoin software or created the Bitcoin system.  His full reasons will follow in a substantial written judgment.

There has been significant press coverage of the decision, including The BBC and The Guardian.

The trial was one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2024.  Dr Wright was represented by Lord Grabiner KC, Craig Orr KC, Tim Goldfarb, Mehdi Baiou and Richard Greenberg, instructed by Shoosmiths.  A group of Bitcoin developers were represented by Alex Gunning KC and Beth Collett, instructed by Macfarlanes.

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Jonathan Hough KC

Call: 1997 Silk: 2014



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