The Office is increasingly receiving applications containing terms relating to virtual goods and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This is the approach that the Office is taking for classification purposes.
- Virtual goods are proper to Class 9 because they are treated as digital content or images. However, the term virtual goods on its own lacks clarity and precision so must be further specified by stating the content to which the virtual goods relate (e.g. downloadable virtual goods, namely, virtual clothing).
- The 12th Edition of the Nice Classification will incorporate the term downloadable digital files authenticated by non-fungible tokens in Class 9. NFTs are treated as unique digital certificates registered in a blockchain, which authenticate digital items but are distinct from those digital items. For the Office, the term non fungible tokens on its own is not acceptable. The type of digital item authenticated by the NFT must be specified.
Services relating to virtual goods and NFTs will be classified in line with the established principles of classification for services.
The Office’s approach is set out in the 2023 draft Guidelines on which a range of stakeholders have until 3 October this year to comment.