The growth of non-fungible token (NFT) trading into a $17 billion industry in 2021 has given rise to a host of new legal questions. An NFT is a piece of data that, in general, keeps track on a blockchain of who owns another (often digital) asset. As digital assets verified by NFTs reach prices in the tens of millions of dollars, and with their popularity expanding rapidly, much confusion has surrounded the implications for intellectual property rights.

Two lawsuits recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York illustrate the unsettled trademark law issues raised by NFTs. These lawsuits will, in different ways, test how trademark doctrine should apply to these digital assets and the transactions they relate to.

‘Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild’