Though the Minnesota company offered no concrete plans for how it planned to deploy them, the trademarks must be used to be granted.
Mr. Peanut is headed to the metaverse.
Hormel Foods is seeking trademark protections for NFTs and other virtual products related to its largest brands.
The Austin, Minn.-based company joins a handful of other major food companies making early moves toward this digital frontier, including Kraft Heinz, Conagra Brands and Coca-Cola.
"They want to make sure they're protected; they want to cover themselves because the competition is doing it; they think they can monetize it; and they don't want to run into any roadblocks in the future," said Michael Kondoudis, a trademark attorney.
A non-fungible token, or NFT, is proof of ownership of a digital asset. These ownership stakes, in digital art and sports collectibles especially, have sold for eye-popping sums — though the market has slumped along with the broader cryptocurrency market this year.
The trademark applications for Spam, Planters, Skippy, Mr. Peanut and Hormel cover digital products such as photos and videos backed by NFTs and "downloadable virtual goods, namely food and beverage products for use in virtual worlds," according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings made July 6.
Hormel is also seeking trademark protections for a virtual marketplace and "entertainment services" related to its brands. The metaverse is essentially an interactive virtual-reality internet.
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