US patent and trademark and copyright offices to jointly study NFT-related IP issues – On Wednesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the US Copyright Office announced a planned joint study of IP address problems as they are related to non-fungible tokens (NFT). This development comes after a request by the US Congress through Senators Tillis and Leahy that the two offices explore the associated issues.

From Congress inquiry

The two Senators wrote a letter on the 9th of June 2022 where they officially requested the Copyright Office and the Patent and Trademark Office to carry out the joint study. It is hoped that the two bodies will be able to bridge the gap between intellectual property rights and NFTs while they consult widely.

They will draw from the private sector all things that would help them leverage the academic, creative, and technological sectors. Among all their avenues, they equally plan to have a virtual roundtable public meeting sometime in January.

The two offices are expected to officially publish their Notice of Inquiry. A “notice-and-comment” period is also expected to follow the publication.

Engaging stakeholders

The Notice of Inquiry is going to seek feedback from industry stakeholders on certain issues that include the proposed and current use of NFTs in the industry. They will also seek the same information on any challenges related to IP and other opportunities connected with NFTs. The use of NFTs to document the veracity of goods, asset transfer, obtain IP address rights, digital rights management, royalty payment facilitation, and how to enforce IP rights are hoped to be heard about.

In a similar fashion, the offices are interested in how NFTs can be used by intellectual property owners to keep records and documentation, as well as the rights of a seller to give up assets for sale.

Looking at the possible challenges, the offices want to know the full risks and opportunities associated with adopting NFTs. They want to know how they impact the market and what their use cases are.