Rocketfuel Blockchain, a blockchain payments company, has recently decided to sue its own co-founder for allegedly defrauding the firm by misrepresenting patent applications. Rocketfuel filed a complaint regarding the matter with the Central District Court of California and claimed that its former treasurer and co-founder, Joseph Page had concealed the fact that the patents he was transferred to the company were expired. Now, the company is seeking damages from him to a tune of at least $5.1 million. It was disclosed by Rocketfuel that the patent applications had been transferred to the company by page back in March 2018. By doing so, he had relinquished all his rights to the patents.
These patent applications were associated with a number of payment processes concerned with the company’s blockchain platform, which included their crypto interface user systems. In June 2018, Rocketfuel was acquired by B4MC Gold Mines and when they took over the firm and starting doing business with its name, Page had said that the United States Patents and Trademark Office (PTO) was examining the patents. Page, along with some other shareholders of the company, sold the shares they held in Rocketfuel. In return, he had received five million shares of the company that was newly acquired and they had a total valuation of about $45 million.
However, he tendered his resignation from the board a year later. He demanded that 4 million euros be raised by shareholders of Rocketfuel for developing the technology that was described in the patents. If they didn’t do so, he demanded that they transfer the intellectual property back in his name and also pay him 100,000 euros. But, Rocketfuel said that the patent applications that Page had provided were expired and it was not possible for the company to revive them. Between 2014 and 2017, three of the five patents that were under Rocketfuel’s ownership were declared abandoned.
According to the company, Page had admitted that the patents had reached their expiry in June 2019, but he had also added that this was mostly because of the company’s inability of raising enough capital to actually use the technology mentioned in the applications. However, the company countered that Page was the one who had allowed the patents to expire because he didn’t pay the additional filing fee that was needed, and neither did he answer any of the other requests by PTO.
Rocketfuel said that had they been aware that the patents couldn’t be used, they wouldn’t have acquired them in the first place. According to the firm, Page had assigned the patent applications to Rocketfuel and then he had demanded shares of stock in return, even though he was fully aware that the patents were of absolutely no value for the company. While the filing has been done, no court date has been confirmed for the case. As far as Page is concerned, he hasn’t said anything about the matter and it remains to be seen what stance he will take.