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A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

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  • Judge adds $43 million to $100 million IP verdict
  • Computer scientist's joint venture entitled to damages from 2013 onward

(Reuters) - Self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright must pay another $43 million to a joint venture he co-created, adding to a $100 million verdict against him last year, a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled Wednesday.

A jury in December found Wright unlawfully seized intellectual property belonging to the joint venture with late computer forensics researcher Dave Kleiman, WK Info Defense Research. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom awarded the additional $43 million in interest on damages WK suffered from when he took control of the IP in 2013 until the court's final judgment.

Wright had argued that WK should only be entitled to interest measured from October 2021, when the IP's value was highest, through December.

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Wright's attorney Andrés Rivero of Rivero Mestre said in a statement that the award was still "but a fraction of the amount plaintiffs claimed" and does not affect the jury's finding that Kleiman did not co-invent Bitcoin with Wright.

WK's attorneys said in a statement that the decision, like the verdict, "sets a historical precedent in cryptocurrency and blockchain."

Kleiman's brother sued Wright on behalf of his estate in 2018, alleging he stole intellectual property related to blockchain technology from WK along with 1.1 million bitcoin.

According to court papers, the bitcoin was mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, who wrote a white paper describing the framework for what would become bitcoin. Wright has said that he is Nakamoto, which has been disputed.

Jurors awarded WK $100 million for Wright's conversion of its intellectual property but cleared Wright of other claims including theft and fraud, and found WK and Kleiman were not entitled to any of the disputed bitcoin.

Kleiman said in the lawsuit that the assets were worth over $11 billion. Today, the 1.1 million bitcoin would be worth $43 billion.

The case is Kleiman v. Wright, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, No. 9:18-cv-80176.

For Kleiman: Vel Freedman and Kyle Roche of Roche Freedman, Andrew Brenner, Steve Zack, and Max Pritt of Boies Schiller Flexner

For Wright: Andrés Rivero of Rivero Mestre

(NOTE: This story has been updated with comment from Wright's attorney.)

Read more:

Self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor largely prevails in $54 billion bitcoin trial

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Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Washington-based correspondent covering court cases, trends, and other developments in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Previous experience at Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters Practical Law and work as an attorney.