With digital assets on the upswing once more, businesses across the board have been locking down blockchain-related patents anew.
Filings for US — and international — patents or trademarks related to cryptocurrency sectors, including blockchain initiatives and NFT enterprises, are one main means for companies to secure related intellectual property. And potentially gain a competitive advantage in the meantime.
As mainstream tech giants, including Amazon, hop on the NFT bandwagon, the industry has been parsing the possibility of a spring-to-summer surge in exclusive access to events and collections.
That could turn passive customers into active players, according to Gökçe Güven, CEO of Web3 tooling platform Kalder. The goal of ratcheting up engagement and branding loyalty could apply to both individual NFT creators and big brands.
“Blockchains and blockchain-based systems are poised to unlock a wide variety of use cases that we probably haven’t even thought of yet,” Güven told Blockworks. “But those use cases need to be structured in a way that incentivizes the individual creator to participate, and this includes legal and regulatory systems.”
While crypto initiatives continue to develop broadly, patents and tradements are on the rise in terms of enforcing the verification that NFTs inherently provide on the blockchains they’re based on, according to Nihar Neelakanti, the chief executive of carbon-backed NFT maker Ecosapiens.
“Trademarks and NFTs are like Cinderella and the magic slipper – a natural fit,” Neelakanti said.
Added Neelakanti: “NFTs and other digital assets are the best technology to verify identity anywhere on the web and through any transaction, and in that sense, a trademark enhances and enforces the technical protection an NFT may provide through a legal framework.”
Here’s a snapshot of five businesses with brand recognition that have recently filed patents for Web3 offerings. Companies often file for patents with no expectation of employing a product in the immediate future.
German candy maker Haribo has taken a leap into the world of NFTs.
The gummy bear maker registered an NFT-related trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office on April 25. The company filed for a number of applications related to “digital collectibles in the nature of downloadable multimedia files.”
Those sectors, per the filing, include “downloadable audio and video recordings, digital avatars and cartoons relating to confectionery.”
Global analytics software firm FICO recently hit a patent jackpot. Not only was it awarded 12 patents, but its use of blockchain for data and model governance was also patented.
FICO, the company behind its popular FICO Credit Score product, has long been a resource used by lenders to assess people’s creditworthiness and decide whether they are suitable for loans or credit cards.
Scott Zelda, the company’s chief analytics officer, has said that blockchain technology has practical value-adds in terms of AI, analytic governance and conducting audits.
FICO’s new patent is all about keeping track of how machine learning models are created, used and monitored. It’s using a “shared ledger.”
In March, Japanese electronic giant Fujitsu filed a trademark application covering scores of services, including crypto trading.
The filing for Fujitsu made possible the company’s ambitions to dive into everything from money exchange to digital asset management — on top of brokerage services for crypto.
Boston-based investment management firm Fidelity Investments broke new ground by filing trademark applications in December that indicated plans to service customers in a virtual world powered by digital currencies.
Three patent applications showed Fidelity’s plans to explore marketing, placements, recruiting and referral services for investment and financial planning in the metaverse. It was also looking into creating an NFT marketplace where one can buy, sell and trade digital goodies.
In the fourth quarter of 2022, auto racing league Formula One filed a number of crypto-related trademarks for its “F1” abbreviation, changing from NFTs to retail stores for virtual goods.
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