In this episode of Conversations with TED, partners Michael Melfi and Amanda Hyland discuss the evolving world of NFTs, cryptocurrency and the roles of trademarks and IP. With no barriers to entry with NFTs, Amanda shares how the NFT marketplace is flooded with tokens and that owners haven’t given thought to if the tokens infringe on copyright or trademark owned by others. While no court opinions have been released to address NFT precedents, there are a number of cases on the topic spotlighting issues.
As more companies enter the NFT market, there will be more disputes, more case law and more direction. While much is unclear for the future, there are current challenges to contend with including trademark applications as it’s not clear what types of services a NFT owner is eligible to register a trademark in. Every type of company is filing in Class 9 or Class 42 services and navigating what to do with trademark offices, marketing plans and vendor relationships. Amanda is advising clients to take a broad approach and then look to the trademark office for guidance. She advises all companies to create a trademark strategy and to monitor NFT trading platforms for trademark infringement and report incidents. Cryptocurrencies, while not experiencing the same degree of infringement as NFTs, do have challenges on brand management and protection.