We have followed the trend in trademark applications for NFT-related protection and the conclusions are clear: what started as a trickle has become a flood, with tycoons from virtually every industry jumping on the bandwagon. And their applications often relate to pioneering types of marks.
NFT-related trademark applications – the numbers are soaring
The beginning of the year is a good time to take a look at some full-year statistics on filings with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). As the EUIPO allows you to obtain the broadest protection with just one application and a relatively low fee, we think these figures give a very good picture of the current status.
For the sake of completeness, we have focused our analysis on applications from 2020 to 2022. As is well known, we saw a real boom in NFT content over the past year. The extent of this popularity will be particularly apparent when we note that there were no NFT-related filings in 2020.
On the other hand, it is safe to say that the coming years will see an avalanche of applications, and this is already evident from the initial statistics from this year.
NFT trademarks – 2021 statistics
221 applications were filed in 2021, of which 195 have been granted registration to date. Of the total number of applications, 141 applications were for protection for word marks and 77 – for word-figurative marks.
Interestingly, 3 applications were for motion marks and concerned the movement of a rotating cube-like object.
Most of the applications were filed by technology companies, mainly game developers, but other companies are also on the register.
Among those seeking protection for their NFT-related goods and services was Buccellati Holding Italia, an Italian jewellery and watch company with more than 100 years of trade.
Burberry, Maserati and David Beckham – who applied for NFT trademark protection in 2022
There were 1,867 applications for NFT-related trademark protection in 2022.
814 marks were registered, 615 applications were published and 112 were opposed.
There were 1,066 applications for protection for word marks, 789 – for word-figurative marks, and 7 – for three-dimensional marks. One application was for a motion and sound mark.
Applicants included major fashion houses such as Bulgari, Burberry, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent.
The automotive industry also decided to protect its marks for NFT-related goods and services. Applications were filed by representatives of Maserati, Volkswagen and Hyundai, among others.
Other internationally recognizable applicants were Heinz, Red Bull, eBay, Tommy Hilfiger, Johnson & Johnson and Puma. There were also representatives from the world of sport including the world’s biggest football clubs and the organisers of league competitions such as the English Premier League.
One of the most interesting applications was for the word mark DAVID BECKHAM (EUTM 018688632), filed by DB Ventures which manages Beckham’s post-football activities. A real gem, on the other hand, was the application for word-figurative marks representing the Little Prince character, registered for the Society for the Work and Memory of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
In summary, the number of trademark applications for NFT-related protection has increased more than eightfold compared to the previous year.
This demonstrates not only the popularity of NFT content and the dynamic development of this new technology sector, but also the growing awareness among right holders of the need to protect their rights. The extent of this growth is illustrated in the graph below.
Moreover, the results for January 2023 show a continuation of this upward trend in further new applications. It is therefore fair to say that the coming years will see a flood rather than a wave of applications and registrations.
Want to know how to effectively secure your brand for entry into the Metaverse? Feel free to contact me: