Despite the rapid expansion of the non-fungible token (NFT) sector, they are considered to be nascent. The consistent increase in the adoption of the NFTs has called on regulators to have a better understanding of the sector to ensure efficient regulation.
The government in the United Kingdom under the leadership of its crypto-friendly prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has plans on laying the regulatory groundwork for cryptocurrencies. Now the UK government has extended its intention for NFT trademarks.
In a recent move, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) shared a guide titled “The Classification of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Virtual Goods, and Services Provided in the Metaverse.”
Sources reveal that the document guides customers looking to apply for UK trademarks related to NFTs, digital assets, and the metaverse. As it seems, the agency released the guidance amid a rising number of trademark applications.
However, UKIPO’s guide on NFTs and the metaverse is not the first of its kind. Reportedly, it comes after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) released their trademark documents in August and September last year, respectively.
The department’s report characterizes NFTs as unique and authentic digital objects representing asset ownership. Quoting the report:
NFTs are unique and unalterable digital authenticity certificates used to represent the asset’s ownership but not necessarily the underlying IP, such as copyright.
Notably, the report brings to light what the UKIPO thinks of NFTs, including digital art, applications, audio files, digital files, and pictures. It also shared directions for NFT-backed physical goods, club memberships, and other services. The manual asserted that all NFTs could be sold or provided via an online marketplace like other goods and services.
Additionally, the UKIPO shared guidelines for the metaverse, including the services it deems acceptable, and services it does not. The report claimed the UKIPO would accept services capable of being delivered via virtual means, such as training services.
While the British government has shown a blurry stance towards cryptocurrencies in recent times, it has appeared more interested in NFTs. The government has been planning to release its own NFT produced by the Royal Mint which was originally proposed by former Chancellor and now Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak in April 2022.
However, the government recently announced that it has shelved plans to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) produced by the Royal Mint. The economic secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith, confirmed that the proposal was not moving forward “at this time” but that the plan would remain under review.
It is important to note that NFTs have been gaining significant attention in recent times with some even selling for millions. Japan also announced its intent to invest in NFTs and metaverse services. The country hopes to lead the world in the creation of a “human-centered society,” with a focus on creating a digital economy that benefits everyone.
While the increasing interest from the masses suggests that NFTs hold a significant place in the market, the regulatory turns on the road ahead will have an important role to play. Nonetheless, a Chinese court stated that NFT collections are online property that must be protected under the country’s law, marking a huge instance for NFTs.