As the NFT (non-fungible token) craze continues, the new digital artform has started to bump up against bedrock legal concepts. Creators and companies plotting legal strategies in the NFT space have begun to adapt these old concepts to new uses by registering various NFT related trademarks and instituting intellectual property litigation to protect their brands in the metaverse.
An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger which is associated with either a digital file or a physical object. Each NFT can be sold on a digital market and each NFT represents a different, unique link. The ownership of each NFT is verified through the digital ledger (also called a blockchain).
To track the emergence of NFTs in intellectual property law, it bears noting that there were all of twenty NFT related trademark applications filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2020. In 2021, there were 2,023 new applications.