Crypto proponents would be wise to keep their eyes on nonfungible token (NFT) and metaverse trademark applications this year, which are “reliable signals” of future-use plans.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, intellectual property lawyer Michael Kondoudis said while many people may think big corporations are just jumping onto the NFT trend as a novelty, “it is not possible” to register a trademark in the United States with no intention to use it.
Despite a relatively low cost for filing an application — ranging from $250 to $350 per class of goods/services — Kondoudis explained when a company submits a trademark application, it requires a sworn statement that the applicant has a “bona fide” intent to use the mark in the future for the listed products and services.
He noted, however, that these applications “undergo substantive review” and may be rejected for a number of legal and technical reasons.
2023 has already seen a string of major companies filing for NFT-related trademark applications and Kondoudis has been active on Twitter, bringing them to the public’s attention.
Trademark trends so far in 2023
Kondoudis noted “the first trend for 2023” was liquor companies filing for NFT trademark applications.
This year has already seen new filings from well-known alcohol brands such as Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal whisky and Malibu Rum, he noted.
Irish Distillers International, makers of Jameson Irish whiskey, was the latest liquor company to file for an NFT trademark application on Jan. 18.
— Mike Kondoudis (@KondoudisLaw) January 23, 2023
Kondoudis said 2022 saw a diverse range of sectors filing for NFT trademarks — from grocery stores, pet food brands, sports teams and leagues, cities, casinos and even game shows.
He believes the sheer number of filings confirms NFTs and the metaverse have the attention of “corporate America.”
NFT patents give companies the edge
Kondoudis is confident consumers will see companies act on their NFT patents in the future, noting:
“These trademark filings are reliable signals of future plans to use marks for the products and services listed in the applications.”
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Ralph Kalsi, CEO of Blockchain Australia believes diving into the NFT patent space can bring significant growth opportunities for companies.
Kalsi said as NFTs continue to gain popularity, companies holding patents in the space can capitalize on the possible growth by licensing their technology or developing their own NFT-based products and services.
He believes the NFT patent space is a “promising area” that can establish a company as a leader by being an early adopter of NFT technology.
Related: US trademark and copyright offices to study IP impact of NFTs
He added that it’s advantageous in the early stage of NFTs to own related patents as it could provide a competitive edge and prevent others from using “similar technology without permission.”
According to a Jan. 5 tweet from Kondoudis, applications relating to NFTs totaled 7,746 in 2022, a nearly 260% increase from 2021.
The rate of new trademark applications for NFTs and related goods/services continues to slow. Only 341 were filed in December, which is less than 1/3 of the 1089 filed in March
— Mike Kondoudis (@KondoudisLaw) January 5, 2023
In a separate tweet on the same day, he added applications pertaining to the metaverse totaled 5,850 last year, a nearly 206% increase from 2021.