Protecting Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) with Intellectual Property Rights in the OAPI Region

Protecting Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) with Intellectual Property Rights in the OAPI Region

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In this blog post, we will explore the exciting realm of intellectual property rights in relation to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). As of January 1, 2023, the World Intellectual Property Organization has implemented changes in the Nice Classification, specifically under Class 9, to provide protection for NFTs and related crypto assets. This development brings significant implications for creators, artists, and innovators within the OAPI region. Let’s delve into the details.

NFT Protection under Class 9

Under the latest edition of the Nice Classification, NFTs now fall within the purview of Class 9, which covers various technological innovations.

This recognition enables the safeguarding of NFTs as valuable and unique digital assets. Alongside NFTs, the following blockchain applications are also protected under Class 9:

  1. NFTs: Non-fungible tokens are digital files authenticated by unique tokens, ensuring their authenticity and scarcity.
  2. Cryptographic Keys: Downloadable cryptographic keys enable the secure reception and utilization of crypto assets.
  3. E-wallets: Downloadable e-wallets facilitate the safe storage and management of digital currencies and assets.

Updated Terminology

Moreover, the new edition of the Nice Classification introduces a notable change in terminology. The term “Cryptocurrency” has been replaced with “Crypto asset” within Class 9. This modification aligns the classification system with current industry terminology, ensuring accuracy and consistency in legal protection.

The Importance of Intellectual Property Rights

The inclusion of NFTs and related crypto assets in Class 9 emphasizes the significance of intellectual property rights for creators and innovators. It offers a legal framework to safeguard their digital creations, fostering innovation, and providing avenues for monetization and protection against unauthorized use.

Benefits of Intellectual Property Protection for NFTs

  1. Authenticity and Value: Intellectual property protection ensures that NFTs can be uniquely identified and authenticated, enhancing their value as distinct digital assets.
  2. Monetization Opportunities: With legal protection, creators can confidently explore various avenues for monetizing their NFTs, such as licensing, sales, and royalties.
  3. Security and Enforcement: Intellectual property rights provide mechanisms for enforcing ownership, deterring infringement, and taking legal action against the unauthorized use or reproduction of NFTs.


The inclusion of NFTs and related crypto assets within Class 9 of the Nice Classification represents a significant step in the protection of digital assets within the OAPI region.

As the value and popularity of NFTs continue to rise, securing intellectual property rights becomes crucial for creators and innovators. By leveraging these legal frameworks, individuals can confidently explore the vast potential of NFTs while protecting their rights and fostering a thriving digital economy.

For further guidance and assistance regarding intellectual property protection for NFTs, consult with experienced legal professionals well-versed in the intricacies of the OAPI region’s intellectual property laws. Stay ahead in the rapidly evolving world of NFTs with proper legal protection.

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Epanty Mbanda

Attorney-at-law | Corporate-Commercial | Technology (FinTech+Blockchain+Cryptocurrency) | Securities | Tax| Managing Partner at 4M Legal and Tax ( Law Firm in Cameroon)

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