Global Weekly Updates on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
JURISDICTION: European Union
UPDATE: EUIPO Proposes Classification of NFTs and Virtual Goods
Given the number of applications for protection of intellectual property rights that are being received by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) containing terms such as ‘virtual goods’ and ‘non-fungible token’ (“NFT”), the following approach has been proposed for classification of such goods.
Virtual goods and NFTs are proposed to be included under Class 9 of the Nice Classification which includes recorded and downloadable media, computer software, blank digital or analogue recording and storage media among others.
EUIPO clarifies that the terms virtual goods and NFTs cannot be accepted on their own and hence, the content to which the virtual goods relate must be specified (i.e., virtual goods, namely virtual clothing). In case of NFT, the digital item authenticated by the NFT must be specified. The 12th Edition of the Nice Classification will incorporate the term downloadable digital files authenticated by NFT in Class 9.
EUIPO’s approach is set out in the 2023 Draft Guidelines on which a range of stakeholders have until 3 October 2022 to comment1.
By showing inclination towards classification of NFT and virtual goods under the Nice Classification, the EUIPO is taking a step towards providing protection to such goods. The applicants will now be able to get a trademark, patent or a copyright for their virtual goods and NFT and claim compensation in case of infringement of such rights.
This is a big boost for on-line gaming and crypto businesses.