On November 23, 2022, the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US Copyright Office issued a request for public comment on the subject of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and intellectual property rights. Comments are due by Monday, January 9, 2023. In addition, the Offices will offer three public roundtables: one panel on NFTs and patents (Tuesday, January 10, 2023), one panel on NFTs and trademarks (Thursday, January 12) and one panel on NFTs and copyrights (Wednesday, January 18).
By way of background, on June 9, 2022, Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis sent a letter to the USPTO and the USCO requesting that the Offices conduct a joint study addressing various IP law and policy issues associated with NFTs. As a result, the Offices have now posed 13 questions (some with subparts) relating to NFTs and intellectual property. Questions include: .
- Please describe any IP-related challenges or opportunities associated with NFTs or NFT markets.
- Are current IP laws adequate to address the protection and enforcement of IP in the context of NFTs? If not, please explain why, including any gaps in current IP laws, and describe any legislation you believe should be considered to address these issues.
- Please describe the extent to which adjustments are being made to IP portfolio planning and management in light of the emergence of NFTs.
With respect to the roundtables, the Offices are seeking panelists and members of the public may apply, using the information in the Federal Register notice. The Offices have stated they will make every effort to ensure a broad range of stakeholder views are represented on the panels but may not be able to accommodate every request to participate. The roundtables will be livestreamed, recorded and transcripts will be available. Requests to become a panelist must be received by Wednesday, December 21, 2022.