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Fender has filed trademarks for NFTs and “other crypto-collectibles”

Fender NFT trademarks
(Image credit: Lamutabor / d3sign / Getty)

Fender has submitted a series of trademark applications relating to the use of its headstock shape in potential NFT products.

Trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis spotted the submission to the USPTO (United States Patents and Trademarks Office) and flagged it on Twitter.

The plans relate to the use of the headstock shape in NFT and crypto-collectibles, including virtual goods, photographs, artwork, video and “audio recordings featuring music and musical instruments”.

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Guitar World can confirm the applications can be found on the USPTO website. Kondoudis also mentions that the firm submitted similar applications for the Fender and Stratocaster trademarks last year. 

The move has, perhaps understandably, led to speculation from the guitar playing community that Fender is readying itself for a potential entry to the NFT market. 

To be fair, the brand would not be the first in the guitar space to do so, though previous NFT sales have been predominantly artist-led. 

Amid the wider NFT gold rush, sales and auctions involving instruments and music from the likes of Matt Bellamy, Joe Bonamassa, Keith Richards, Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani all took place in the past year – though it should be noted that many of those sales were in aid of charities. Megadeth even went so far as to launch their own cryptocurrency.

It is, therefore, easy to see a point in the future where guitar brands sell NFTs or other digital assets relating to or bundled with their (current or vintage) physical products. Guitarists are famously prone to collecting, and Gibson made a similar application last year.

So while it’s fun to speculate, we suspect Fender’s application is primarily a defensive move from a company keen to both keep up with the competition and ensure its own intellectual property and trademarks aren’t left open to violation in the digital space. 

In addition, the NFT market has suffered a dramatic decline in both the frequency and value of sales over the past week, suggesting that the initial bubble –reportedly worth $28 billion for the past year – may be bursting. 

It’s likely this may act as a deterrent for legacy companies looking to dip their toes in the (non-fungible) water. And that‘s before we get into the inevitable backlash from the analog purists.

Still, it begs the question: would you buy a virtual pre-CBS Strat?

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.