Due to the continuous increase of new Trademark Registrations related to products and services in the digital environment, especially aiming protection of activities within the Metaverse, the European Union Intellectual Property Institute (EUIPO) published its guidelines on the subject last June.
This type of registration became better known after companies such as Nike, Victoria’s Secret, McDonald’s and Converse required protection of their activities focused on this new digital environment. Terms such as “virtual goods” and “non-fungible tokens (NFTs)” are increasingly being linked to these types of records and with classes 9, 35 and 41 being used to designate new products and services.
Thus, EUIPO reported that:
- Virtual goods belong to class 9 because they are treated as digital content or images. However, the term “virtual goods” itself lacks clarity and precision and should be further specified, with the statement of the content to which the virtual goods refer (eg downloadable virtual goods, notably virtual clothing).
- The 12th Edition of the Nice Classification will incorporate the term “downloadable digital files authenticated by non-fungible tokens” into Class 9. NFTs will be treated as unique digital certificates registered on a blockchain, which authenticate digital items but are distinct from these digital items. For EUIPO, the term “non-fungible tokens” alone is not acceptable. The type of NFT-authenticated digital item must be specified.
- Services relating to virtual goods and NFTs will be classified according to the already established service classification principles.
Finally, the Institute also indicated that in 2023 it will publish an update of its Guidelines and that it will be in line with these recommendations. The full EUIPO note can be viewed at the link here.