ACROSS THE METAVERSE: THE IMPORTANCE TO PROTECT TRADEMARKS IN THE METAVERSE
“The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection”.
This is the quote you can find on the website of the newborn “Meta”, the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg which brought about the virtual world’s boom (the so-called “metaverse”) at the end of 2021.
The metaverse is a true virtual reproduction of the reality (with a little more immagination) where it is possible to get in by creating an avatar, in order to socialize with new virtual friends, but also buy – in virtual shops of course – houses, furniture, plots of land, cars, clothing, animals, several kinds of objects, pieces of art and much more.
The world of virtual goods is linked to the NFT technology, namely “Non-Fungible Token” , which can turn any IT product (photo, video, 3D reproduction, etc.) into a unique, verified and traceable digital entity by using the blockchain, thus awarding the virtual good with an “ownership deed and certificate of authenticity”.
The idea of metaverse is not totally new, but is – since ages – deeply rooted in the gaming sector: there are many videogames where it is possible to personalize avatars with various types of objects, ranging from weapons to clothing. The same idea has already peeped out in the Social Media world with the arrival of “Second Life”, the virtual communication platform which became famous at the beginning of 2000 and will probably soon return to its former glory.
To keep up with the roaring ’20 (2.0 version), starting from the end of 2021 more and more companies, both big and small, are taking the chance to expand their businesses in the metaverse.
The pilot case is Nike, which has recently filed an application in the US for the trademarks NIKE and NIKELAND, among others, in relation to several “virtual products” (in class 9) and their selling and entertaining services (in classes 35 and 41).
So, for anyone who wants to approach the metaverse it is fundamental to protect their trademarks also in relation to these new “virtual products”.
At the moment, with specific reference to trademarks, it is not possible to state that “real goods” (such as clothing products in class 25) are similar to “virtual goods”.
In fact, the absence of a protection by the brand owner can create protection gaps which are vulnerable to be filled in by bad-faith third parties, who could exploit the rights acquired by others in the “real world” for their illicit businesses in the metaverse.
Barzanò & Zanardo’s Team of trademark attorneys is always available to provide any information you need and to build up together the best strategy to protect your IP assets, both in the real and in the virtual world.