If you’ve applied for a trademark recently or spent time with us on Instagram, you probably heard that the United States Patent and Trademark Office is taking longer to process trademark applications because they’ve received an extraordinary uptick in applicants. Meet NFTs and the Metaverse, the trademark trends that blew up 2021! While the root source is most likely a mix of elements like new businesses started during the pandemic and people leaving the traditional workforce to freelance or run a business from their homes, it’s safe to say that a few tech trends really affected this as well. We can’t look at the overall increase in trademark applications without giving NFTs and The Metaverse some analysis.
WHAT IS AN NFT AND HOW CAN YOU TRADEMARK WITH IT?
First, let’s take a look at NFTs. Given that only 20% of Americans know what an NFT is, let’s start with a quick breakdown because an understanding of what they are will add some clarity as to why they would be trademarked! NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token”, which to be honest, sounds a little less serious when you have to say the word “Fungible” out loud, right? “Fungible” is actually the keyword, it means that something cannot be replaced or traded. For an in-depth explanation of NFTs, read more here on Forbes.
So how are these NFTs eligible for trademarking? The NFTs themselves are not eligible for a trademark but brands can trademark the name and logo they use to market their NFT or the original piece represented by an NFT. Additionally, anyone can trademark a service related to NFTs, just as they might trademark a service related to any other area of business. Examples of this might be financial services that relate to purchasing an NFT or the online platform where people can buy NFTS.
It’s a whole new world, right? At the same time, we can also point to a variation on a theme when it comes to standard economic practices. People are looking to claim what is theirs and brand it, they are also looking to help other people with funding, buying, and selling these items, too. With this, it’s through an entirely digital world with digital items in a digital storefront. We haven’t had a new economy pop up like this since the advent of online commerce with physical products so it’s exciting to watch this evolve. Trademark applications for NFTs have increased tremendously in the past year so it’s definitely a reason your application may be taking longer than normal.
WHAT CAN YOU TRADEMARK IN THE METAVERSE?
Now, what about the Metaverse? While so much is still largely unknown about how Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual reality world will play out, we do know that any brand can give themselves a digital presence within the Metaverse and we’ll likely see the same evolution that NFTs have shown us. A whole new digital world with digital items in a digital storefront. It’s safe to say that brands are actively trademarking services and new offerings, just for the Metaverse.
So, what’s next in the online space? Only time will tell. This is really what we know now about NFTs and the Metaverse, the trademark trends that blew up 2021. It’s interesting to look at different avenues for digital commerce and see that many brands are establishing a new aspect (like an NFT or Metaverse brand or service) with trademarking. It’s a strong indicator that NFTs and the Metaverse will be around for a while!
For an in-depth look at trademarking and if your business needs a trademark, read more on our blog here.
*This post is for general education and does not initiate an attorney-client relationship with us. We always recommend consulting a trademark attorney for your brand’s specific needs.*