Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Rolex Files Trademark Application for Crypto Keys, NFTs, Virtual Goods





This is such a big news I had to borrow Hodinkee's "Breaking News" banner again.

According to USPTO-licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis, Rolex filed for metaverse-related trademarks last week. Mr. Kondoudis broke the news on Monday by tweeting Rolex had filed applications to trademark NFTs, crypto keys and virtual goods. 

This is quite a big deal because using NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, would allow Rolex to have a Master database of serial numbers recorded in a protected blockchain and accessible online (non-fungible means unchangeable). Rumors from Geneva abound, but some say Rolex wants its movements, dials and cases each to have a specific serial number. The three serial numbers together could be entered in a blockchain that is safely stored online and accessible to watchmakers, who can then determine if a dial or movement was swapped. Would the database be accessible to customers as well? 

Rolex has never been first to use digital technology, but it has embraced it and done it well. One look at its Instagram account, YouTube channel — or more recent sister website, — and we deduct the 117-year-old Swiss watchmaker doesn't shy away from the internet. Maybe it has to do with the relatively young CEO at the helm of Rolex, Jean-Frédéric Dufour. 

Interviews of him to properly gauge his views on the digital mixed with a traditional industry are hard to come by. But I found an interview filmed a decade ago when he was CEO of Zenith. He was just 43. Mr. Dufour said the internet and "new media" are the tools of the future when it comes to communication. And it looks like he still means it at Rolex.