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EUIPO guidelines for trade marks relating to virtual goods and NFTs

Brand owners are becoming more proactive in protecting their brands in the ever-changing landscape of consumers, particularly in response to the Metaverse and NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

There have been various new strategies on filing trademarks, particularly in the US, EU, China and Japan, with classifications and specification drafting.

The European Intellectual Property Office (“EU IPO”) has released guidance notes on the approach it will take in classifying items relating to virtual goods and NFTs. It is noted that:

  • virtual goods and NFTs will fall under Class 9, because they are treated as digital content or images;
  • the EUIPO will use the following definition for NFTs, “unique digital certificates registered in a blockchain, which authenticate digital items but as distinct from those digital items”; and
  • the items ‘’virtual goods’’ and ‘’NFTs’’ will not be accepted on their own, they must be further specified by stating the content to which they relate (e.g. downloadable virtual goods, namely, virtual clothing.) .

This is a positive step for brand owners as now trade marks registrations will cover virtual goods and NFTs, this does however present legal implications relating to the trading and owning of NFTs. We have discussed this in another article, please follow the link below.

NFTs and Intellectual Property Law – (murrellassociates.co.uk)

If a move into virtual goods, NFTs and the Metaverse are something you can see in the future of your brand please get in touch with our Intellectual Property team to discuss your current Intellectual Property portfolio and how you can begin to protect these with the development of the virtual world.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, Stacey Gillard, Paralegal and Rebecca Anforth, Legal Director, would be delighted to hear from you. You can reach Stacey & Rebecca on 01872 226990 or you can email them on stacey.gillard@murrellassociates.co.uk or rebecca.anforth@murrellassociates.co.uk.

The information provided in this article is a summary for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice and cannot be relied on as such. Any law quoted in this article is correct at the above date. Appropriate legal and financial advice should be sought for specific circumstances before any action is taken.

Key contacts

Rebecca Anforth

Legal Director

Rebecca Anforth

Legal Director

Rebecca leads our intellectual property team and is recognised by the Legal 500 for her in-depth knowledge of intellectual property law.

More About Rebecca