Intellectual Property Trading: NFTs Revolutionize the Protection and Monetization of Digital Creations


In the ever-evolving digital landscape, the emergence of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has sparked a revolution in the trading of intellectual property rights. NFTs, built on blockchain technology, offer creators a novel means to safeguard and monetize their digital creations more effectively than ever before. This post explores the impact of NFTs on intellectual property trading, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities they present.

Understanding NFTs and Intellectual Property

NFTs, as described in the article by Practical Law The Journal, function as computer program instructions that authenticate digital media using blockchain technology. Unlike traditional cryptocurrencies, NFTs are unique and indivisible, representing ownership of distinct digital assets. However, it is important to note that owning an NFT does not automatically confer ownership of the underlying IP rights associated with the asset. Verification of ownership and consideration of licensing agreements are crucial steps in NFT transactions.

The Role of IP Rights in NFT Transactions

Copyright Protection

Copyright, as highlighted in the article by Norton Rose Fulbright, plays a pivotal role in NFT transactions. Creators retain copyright by default, but they can choose to include royalty rates in smart contracts to ensure ongoing compensation. Additionally, unauthorized minting of NFTs can infringe upon copyrights, necessitating the monitoring of marketplaces and appropriate enforcement actions.

Trademark Considerations

NFTs also raise trademark issues, as discussed in the article by Finnegan. Brand owners have the opportunity to extend trademark registrations to cover NFT-related uses, safeguarding their brands in the digital asset realm. The Hermes case serves as an example, illustrating the complexities surrounding trademarks and NFTs.

Patent Implications

While patents are less commonly associated with NFTs, the “CryptoKicks” patent by Nike, mentioned in the articles by Norton Rose Fulbright (3) and Finnegan (4), demonstrates the potential of tying physical assets to NFTs. This approach provides control, limited production, and verification of authenticity and ownership.

Challenges and Considerations for IP Protection

Counterfeiting Risks

As with any digital asset, NFTs are susceptible to counterfeiting. Protecting brands and creators from counterfeit NFTs requires proactive measures such as design patents, as outlined in the article by Finnegan (4). Blockchain technology plays a pivotal role in verifying the authenticity of NFTs, mitigating counterfeiting risks to some extent.

Ownership and Licensing Clarity

Defining IP rights clearly in NFT transactions is crucial to ensure the preservation of the creator’s rights and the protection of buyers and marketplaces. Parties involved should conduct thorough investigations, monitor IP rights, and stay informed about legal developments to navigate the complexities of NFT trading effectively.

The Future of NFTs and Intellectual Property Trading

The landscape of NFTs and intellectual property trading remains dynamic and uncertain. The rise of the metaverse, as mentioned in the article by Practical Law The Journal, adds further complexity, necessitating anticipation and preparation. As the technology evolves and legal frameworks adapt, staying informed and proactive will be key to navigating this evolving landscape successfully.


NFTs have emerged as a game-changer for intellectual property trading, empowering creators to protect and monetize their digital creations more effectively. By leveraging blockchain technology, NFTs offer a unique solution for verifying ownership, enabling royalty payments, and combating counterfeiting. However, the challenges surrounding IP rights, copyright, trademark, and patent protection require careful consideration and proactive measures. As the legal landscape continues.


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Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell

Tom is a writer and artist who has been experimenting with NFTs since 2017. He loves how the technology allows artists to create and monetize their work in new and exciting ways. His writing often explores the creative possibilities of blockchain-based art and he’s currently working on a novel about an NFT artist caught up in a high-stakes crypto heist.

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