U.S. Patent and Trademark, Copyright Offices Deliver NFT Report On Intellectual Property


JPEGs of illustrated monkey pictures and the like don’t get a lot of notice by the Congressional set. But the underlying ownership via the blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has attracted interest when it comes to intellectual property.

Yesterday, a whopping 112-page report by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Copyright Office was delivered to Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property.

The report was originally the bipartisan brainchild of former Senator Patrick Leahy (D, VT) and Senator Thom Tillis (R, NC) who “requested that the USPTO and the Copyright Office (collectively, ‘the Offices’) jointly undertake a study to examine current and future applications of non-fungible tokens; how intellectual property laws apply to NFTs and assets associated with NFTs; intellectual property-related challenges arising from the use of NFTs; and potential ways to use NFTs to secure and manage intellectual property rights.”

Download it here (PDF).

IP & NFTs – analysis

IP attorney Eliana Torres shares a few highlights from the report on X and writes, “Crucially, the Offices concluded that existing enforcement mechanisms are sufficient to address infringement concerns related to NFT applications, advocating for public education initiatives and enhanced product transparency to promote awareness and understanding.” Read the thread.

what you should know: A hearing on the report by the Senate or House Subcommittee on IP seems like a logical next step. (Hint)

SEC Chair in April

According to Politico’s Eleanor Mueller and Zach Warmbrodt yesterday, a House Financial Services (HFS) Committee hearing with Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler is expected in April – likely an SEC Oversight hearing. Read a bit more.

what you should know: The last SEC oversight hearing by the HFS Committee was in September. Among the digital asset highlights at the time, was the Chair’s evasiveness about qualifying even Bitcoin a commodity or security. He also was admonished by the majority Republicans for unresponsiveness to Congressional letters. Since that time, the SEC’s X account hack occurred, Bitcoin spot market ETFs were approved, Staff Accounting Bulletin 121 (SAB 121) appears to be funneling all the Bitcoin custody business to Coinbase and an Ether spot market ETF is on the docket for approval for the SEC.

more tips:

    • TODAY: House Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion hearing titled, “Bureaucratic Overreach or Consumer Protection? Examining the CFPB’s Latest Action to Restrict Competition in Payments” starts at 9 a.m.  – financialservices.house.gov

McMorris Rodgers on CBDC

Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s (R, MN) CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act added two new co-sponsors on Monday according to Congress.gov.  House Energy & Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers (R, WA) and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R, TX) signed up. That makes 125 co-sponsors on the bill.

what you should know: If any digital assets bill gets a House floor vote in the 118th Congress, this would seem to be the one given its current Republican support and the House’s Republican (increasingly slim) majority.

Grayscale’s “Mini” Trust

Post-launch of Bitcoin spot market ETFs, Grayscale and its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has gradually lost market share as investors have exited for lower cost alternatives. But, Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart reported yesterday that Grayscale is spinning out a new “Grayscale Bitcoin Mini Trust” from its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. Seyfartt says that it’s a lower cost alternative that will allow traders to get in an out of Bitcoin quickly (and without having to deal with custody).  Read the informative thread.

not US

Hong Kong’s Central Bank Starts Regulatory Sandbox for Stablecoin Issuers – CoinDesk

How Russia and China threaten to front-run US on stablecoins, as legislation stalls – DL News

EU approves new sanction violation rules that include measures for freezing crypto assets – The Block

Crypto Gets Blamed for a Real-Life Currency Crisis in Nigeria – The Wall Street Journal

still more tips

Opinion: Hypocrisy is everywhere with crypto and the banks – Financial Times

Why We Challenged the SEC in Court – Crypto Freedom Alliance of Texas

Goldman, BNY Mellon, 45 institutions in Canton Network DLT interoperability trial for RWA tokenization – Ledger Insights

Coinbase Pushes for Crypto Rules Amid ‘Oppressive’ SEC Actions – Bloomberg Law News