The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has, amid an increased number of trade mark applications concerning virtual goods and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), released guidance on the classification of such goods for trade mark purposes.
European Union and United Kingdom trade marks are divided into classifications, depending on which goods/services they are applied in respect of. This is governed by what is known as the NICE Classification, which is an internationally accepted standard, dividing all goods/services for trade mark purposes into 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services – a total of 45 classes.
The recent EUIPO update clarifies that its approach to such virtual goods is that they are considered as digital content or images and for that reason should fall within class 9. That said, it is the EUIPO’s view is that “virtual goods” is too vague and the goods concerned should be listed more specifically in a trade mark application. The EUIPO update provides an example of a more specific description: “downloadable virtual goods, namely, virtual clothing”.
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