The top English football division, the Premier League, has applied for a series of U.S. trademarks covering non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. In addition, the Football Association filed a separate application exclusively for Fantasy Premier League.
The trademarks seek protection for the Premier League’s name and logo of a lion donning crown, and the “loving cup trophy” featuring a crown and golden lions on each handle.
The scope of protection requested includes digital asset trading, cryptocurrency services, virtual wearables, NFTs, tokens, and blockchain-based online marketplaces. As mentioned, there is a separate application for the scope of fantasy gaming, indicating that this sector is likely a priority.
It is a strategic move from the League and indicates that they have plans for Web 3, and it is protecting their intellectual property abroad as a defensive move.
Football player John Terry used UEFA and Premier League IP to promote an NFT collection where he was an ambassador, although he later removed it. Other companies have filed trademark applications regarding the Premier League, including one that has applied for Metaverse Premier League. The League’s trademark applications might be looking to avoid future similar developments.
“The Premier League is regularly watched by more than a billion people, so the value attached to the brand is substantial,” said Trademark Lawyer Michael Kondouis. “These filings represent a logical step to protect the brand in today’s economy, including virtual and crypto elements, and tomorrow’s virtual economy in the metaverse.”
Following recent developments in the NFT sports space, the Premier League is a bit of a late mover. In the U.S., the NBA, NFL, and MLB all have ongoing partnerships with Web 3 providers, while in Europe, most top leagues, including La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga have at least one league-wide partnership in NFTs. Meanwhile, until very recently, providers including Sorare, Consensys, Dapper Labs and Candy were still bidding for NFT Premier League rights. It is likely that the league is looking to start activities soon and expand quickly to catch up with others.
The current reports are that ConsenSys won the NFT deal, while Dapper Labs will have NFT video rights. But this has not yet been officially confirmed by the Football Association.