US NFT Trademark Applications Surged More Than 500% in the Last Six Months

NFT trademark filings in the US saw a 552% increase from August 2021 to January 2022.

Quick take:

  • US NFT trademark applications surged more than 400% in 2021 alone.
  • 407 trademarks were filed in December 2021.
  • 15 trademarks are filed daily in 2022.

According to data from Finbold, 1,263 NFT trademarks were filed in the United States in 2021. This represented a 421 fold growth in NFT trademark filings from only three in 2020.

In 2021, the record number of trademark filings was 407 in December, while there were zero at the beginning of that year. NFT trademark applications skyrocketed over the last six months, with a 552.71% growth from August 2021 to January 2022. 

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received 450 filings in January this year, its highest ever so far. This breaks down to 15 filings per day in one month alone.

With the NFT space soaring to new heights over the past year, it has become a $41 billion industry that’s too hard for big brands to ignore. The increasing number of NFT trademark filings by big brands indicate their interest in entering the market, not just to cash in on its potential, further their brand positioning and marketing efforts, engage with their consumers, but also to protect their intellectual property (IP) rights.

Amid ongoing legal battles and trademark wars in the NFT space, the rush for companies to register trademarks come with good reasons as brands can generate revenue from their intellectual property in the metaverse. It can also help brands fend off counterfeits and unauthorised used of their likeness in the metaverse.

Two ongoing high-profile legal disputes are currently happening between Hermes and the creator of MetaBirkins, as well as Nike and StockX. There is also a legal battle between CryptoPunks v1 and v2.

Last week, NFT marketplace Cent – which famously sold former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet as NFT –  shut down due to rampant fakes and plagiarism problems. Last month, leading marketplace OpenSea admitted that more than 80% of NFTs minted for free on its platform were “plagiarised works, fake collections and spam.”

Just over the last two weeks, some of the world’s biggest brands, companies and personalities that have registered metaverse and NFT trademarks include McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret, the New York Stock Exchange, L’Oreal, Kobe Inc. and Logan Paul.

In our Legal Roundup published last week, lawyers from four New York law firms came to a consensus that more legal concerns will arise as the NFT industry grows. As trademark wars are a new legal issue that will unfold in the coming months, the lawyers encourage those involved in NFTs or the metaverse to have strong IP contracts drawn up. 

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