Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are revolutionizing the way businesses market their goods and services — and they’ve been making a significant impact in the trademark world. Importantly, NFTs allow companies to create a new stream of revenue and can give them the opportunity to build a stronger connection with their consumer base. But even though NFTs are digital, it’s essential that businesses understand how critical it is to take the necessary steps to legally protect their intellectual property.
Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC stands on the cutting edge of trademark law and the new technologies that emerge. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and adeptness to guide our clients through all aspects of the trademark process. Whether you’re looking to safeguard the name, logo, or design on a physical or digital good, we are dedicated to helping you implement a viable strategy for your ongoing business success.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a type of digital asset secured on the blockchain, a decentralized public digital ledger. While NFTs can be created on various blockchains, Ethereum and Solana are the most common. NFTs are not interchangeable, and they only exist in digital format. Each non-fungible token is unique and can only have one owner at a time.
Any assignment of a NFT is trackable and recorded on the blockchain. When a NFT changes hands, a new record is entered into the ledger — these records are public and make it easy to verify ownership of the token. However, ownership of the unique token and the actual content of the NFT are separate and distinct. The creator of the work can retain their intellectual property ownership rights and claim royalties on any resale of the NFT.
Nearly anything can be sold as a non-fungible token, including the following digital property:
Additionally, each non-fungible token has a unique identification code and metadata that exists on the blockchain. When someone purchases a NFT, they receive a certificate of ownership. Although copies might be available, the person who holds the certificate owns the original. It is the scarcity of NFTs that make them so appealing in the marketplace, with some selling for millions of dollars.
The number of trademark applications associated with NFTs has increased substantially over the past year as more companies seek to leverage them to expand their brands. Companies use NFTs in a variety of ways, including increasing brand awareness, creating an additional source of revenue, and bringing their consumers closer together. They can also be used as part of a comprehensive brand protection strategy by serving as a way to authenticate your products or services in the global marketplace (and Metaverse).
Regardless of how your business is utilizing NFTs, it is crucial to take the necessary measures to ensure your intellectual property is legally protected with either a trademark or copyright. Failure to do so can result in the integrity of your brand being compromised — as well as harm to your reputation and bottom line. If the NFT is an expressive work such as a musical composition, video, or piece of art, it can be protected with copyright registration. However, if the NFT is part of a series or collection or digital representation of your brand, you can file for a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The nuances of registering a trademark for a NFT can be complex, and with so much competition, you can’t afford to hesitate filing your application to the USPTO. Our skillful attorneys will guide you through the registration process to help ensure successful registration the first time you file.
With competition in the NFT marketplace growing fiercer each day, you shouldn’t risk leaving your digital property exposed to misuse. The most effective way to safeguard a non-fungible token is to register as a trademark the name, logo, or design you use in connection with it, or the collection as a whole. In doing so, you are protecting your brand’s digital identity and preventing others from exploiting it. Not only can a trademark registration shield your brand from competitors, but it can promote confidence and trust among consumers.
It is vital to be proactive when it comes to protecting against NFT trademark infringement. While use of the trademark in commerce is generally a prerequisite to registering with the USPTO, you may also be able to file an “intent to use” application — this means that you have a good faith intention to use the mark for your NFT in the future. Filing an application on the basis of “intent to use” can allow you to file an application before your competitors and acquire priority rights. If you choose to file this type of application, you must follow up with filing a statement of use.
At the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, we know how important it is for your business to stay ahead of the curve. We are committed to providing solid advice to each of our clients regarding the latest technologies and work to implement a thorough strategy to ensure your brand is protected, and your company’s goals are met.
In the every-changing technological landscape of the 21st century, it’s imperative to protect your intellectual property. With more than 6,000 trademarks to our name, the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC offers diligent counsel and knowledgeable guidance for a wide variety of trademark matters, including those involving NFTs.
Serving clients nationwide, we concentrate on one thing — protecting your brand — so you can focus on the growth of your business and its bottom line. Contact us today to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with an experienced trademark attorney.