US Copyright and Trademark Authorities Launch Impact of NFT on IP Rights

Jamal Molla
Written By Jamal Molla
I write about cryptocurrency, with a special interest in NFT and metaverse in particular.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have gained popularity in recent years with significant influence on different industries, including intellectual property rights. A newly released collaborative investigation by the US Copyright and Trademark Authorities will look at its influence on several industries.

The United States Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) revealed the research in response to a recent appeal from two senators to determine the impact of NFTs on the IP field in years to come.

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) had urged the US Copyright and Trademark Authorities to coordinate the investigation in the preceding month. The two senators, the highest-ranking members of the Senate’s intellectual property subcommittee, have asked the two agencies to investigate how IP rights connected to NFTs exist. In addition, the investigation will uncover their evolution as time progresses. The two bodies are instructed to begin the research by July 2023.

Among the demands posed by the two legislators were:

  • How do NFT rights transfers work? How does NFT transfer affect intellectual property rights?
  • What are the implications of licensing rights? How can IP rights linked to an asset be licensed within the NFT industry?
  • What kind of intellectual property protection is available? Is there IP protection available for NFT creators? Assuming the NFT creator is not the same as the creator of the referenced asset?

The two offices have officially verified that investigations will be conducted. In addition, the team would invite other NFT industry players and the two politicians.

Notwithstanding its existence within the last few years, NFTs have been at the center of numerous IP-related legal squabbles. The most notable case involves Nike, the world’s largest athletic clothing manufacturer, which has been pursuing famous online sneaker distributor StockX. According to its lawsuit, the latter introduced an NFT series modeled on Nike’s sneakers, which resulted in willfully marketing fake sneakers.

Leave a Comment