Olive Garden vs. NFT artists
The Future. The NFT rights wars are heating up. Brands like Olive Garden and Hermés are taking legal action against projects that violate their trademark rights, sending cease-and-desists and filing takedown notices. These actions signal a growing issue within the NFT marketplace — as sales hit the multi-billions, creators will need to figure out how to regulate trademarks on digital goods.
The breadstick wars
Brands are fighting over the rights to NFTs.
- Olive Garden filed an IP Takedown request with OpenSea to delist a project called “Non-fungible Olive Gardens.”
- Hermès sued NFT creator Mason Rothschild (designer of the MetaBirkins NFT project), alleging trademark infringement.
- After Quentin Tarantino announced plans to turn Pulp Fiction scenes into NFTs, Miramax filed a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract.
Bigger brands (like those listed above) have deeper wallets and legal teams to hunt down trademark violators — but that’s not often the case for other brands. For example, it can be nearly impossible for indie artists to hunt down and deal with fraudsters.
“The big issue that’s looming goes beyond NFTs,” says IP researcher Kal Raustiala at UCLA. “It’s about how do trademarks work in the metaverse and what does it mean to have trademarks on digital goods?”
Looking ahead, artists and brands alike must grapple with how to address this problem in decentralized marketplaces as the NFT craze reaches a fever pitch.