As creators continually expand their ideas in Web3, it’s essential to identify if those ideas fall under cases of IP infringements.
Because regardless of the outcome, you’d still be fined if you’re liable for breaching protected intellectual property rights.
And we’re not only talking about small sums here but about hundreds and millions of settlements.
Therefore, we’ve gathered the best tips to avoid these types of situations as a creator or investor in the space.
A BRIEF DISCUSSION ABOUT IP INFRINGEMENTS
Intellectual property (IP) infringement refers to any violation or breach of protected intellectual property rights such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and trade secrets.
Basically, it occurs when someone uses someone else’s intellectual property without permission, much like stealing.
For reference, any of the following may fall under intellectual property infringement:
- Copying or distributing someone else’s work without permission
- Using someone else’s ideas and inventions without permission
- Featuring someone else’s brand in an unrelated project without permission
- Selling counterfeit goods that infringe on someone else’s IP rights.
It’s vital to take note of these, as they can save you a lot of problems when the time comes.
Enduring IP infringement cases are significantly a hassle, especially if you need more money to pay for the settlements.
In fact, let’s dive down memory lane and analyze the Hermes vs. Rothschild lawsuit, which centered around NFTs.
- Context: French luxury company, Hermes, sued Mason Rothschild for his NFT MetaBirkins collection, a collection of 100 NFTs featuring familiar fur-covered bags that resemble Hermes’ iconic Birkin range.
- Result: A nine-member jury concluded in the former’s favor, pleading Rothschild liable for trademark infringement, dilution, and “cybersquatting,”. As a result, Rothschild paid the company $133,000 in damages.
This lawsuit remains one of the best examples of IP infringement cases related to Web3.
So, if you want to avoid this problem as a creator and investor in the space, let’s talk about the..
WAYS TO AVOID IP INFRINGEMENTS (As a creator)
As a creator, it’s vital to have basic knowledge about IP infringements to avoid yourself in Rothschild’s shoes.
Although these tips seem basic, these are the best ones that will guide you in Web3, which is first to..
1. Create original content and brand
Build your identity in the space by creating NFT projects connecting with your unique brand and style.
This way, it will help distinguish your work from others and legitimize your presence in the space.
Also, make sure that your NFTs don’t infringe upon existing IP rights, including artwork, images, music, or videos from others.
2. Use of Analysis
Research, study, and do more in-depth analysis.
Before creating your NFT collection, ensure that your project doesn’t fall under anyone else’s trademark.
This is important to reject the reasoning and common grounds of others in suing you for IP infringement.
3. Public domain works
Utilize tools and materials in the public domain which are not protected by copyright.
And for safety purposes, always verify the public domain status of the tools first before incorporating it into your NFTs.
4. Read the terms of service before introducing your project
When choosing an NFT marketplace to display your project, carefully review their terms of service and policies first.
By doing this, you can ensure whether the platform has proper actions to respond and handle IP disputes or not.
WAYS TO AVOID IP INFRINGEMENTS (As an investor)
Aside from being a creator, this article is also useful for investors looking to invest in an NFT project.
Since IP infringements not only increase your risk of unintentional copyright infringement, but could also ruin your reputation in the space.
So, to avoid this, first is to..
1. Do inquiry and research
Nothing is more important than conducting thorough research on a project before investing.
Although you may have heard this many times, this will remain one of the most basic, practical, and best tip you can apply in your Web3 business ventures.
Observe the project’s art, ask about its utility, and try to find problems as much as possible.
This way, you can confirm that the project is clean.
2. Use NFT Forgery Detection API
These programs allow you to identify whether a project is directly associated with the brand being used.
Moreover, they can detect counterfeit NFTs, fabricated logos, brand identities of well-known establishments, and new or existing NFTs.
Once the software is done analyzing the collection, it will then show the legitimacy and confidence level of the app towards the project.
A higher confidence level means more legitimate.
People have the right to sue someone for using other people’s brands, which could cost a huge sum of money.
And you must have basic knowledge about IP infringements to avoid becoming that “someone” in the future.
So as to not only prevent you from paying damages, but also promote safety and order in the Web3 business.