The U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office launched a joint study in July to identify the potential impact of intellectual property rights on NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

Eager for answers from the joint agency report, legal professionals have raised several questions such as “What exactly are NFTs?” and “Do NFTs have rights in themselves?”.

Pillsbury Intellectual Property partner Carolyn Toto told Law360 that NFTs do not automatically grant intellectual property rights in related work. Those unclear about the definition of IP rights might assume that acquiring an NFT gives them the authority to commercialize the primary asset as they please. But that is not always the case, she said.

“In terms of IP rights, I don't know how you can divorce the two,” Toto said. “I’d be interested to see what information and opinions come out of these studies as to the interrelation between the token itself, the code and the underlying asset.”

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