The occasion was provided by the application for an injunction filed by the Juventus Football Club, aimed at preventing the marketing of virtual playing cards in the form of NFTs with the effigy of a former Juventus footballer.
What, first of all, are NFTs? An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a digital asset whose ownership is verified and validated via blockchain technology. An NFT can be used as a representation of physical and digital objects (e.g. photographs, videos, meme, sculptures), constituting a unique copy of the asset it represents.
Today, it is therefore possible to market, promote and purchase virtual products that are exact copies of real ones. The phenomenon has found such acceptance that, in some cases, virtual products are sold for even more than the real ones.
While NFT has thus opened the door to a new market full of opportunities, it has also paved the way for new IP issues. This is also in view of the fact that, at present, it would seem possible to create NFTs referring to assets protected by intellectual property rights without the consent of the owner of the latter.
In this context, with a precautionary order of 20 July 2022, the Court of Rome has provided an initial orientation aimed at curbing the phenomenon, establishing that the reproduction of Juventus' denominative and figurative trademarks on virtual playing cards in the form of NFTs constituted a real case of trademark counterfeiting (as well as unfair competition) and consequently deemed it necessary to prohibit the production, sale and promotion of such NFTs.
A truly innovative decision in this new digital world.