Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week took place in March in this year, bringing together fashion and virtual reality on the biggest scale yet. Now more than ever, big brands are considering how they should be protecting their intellectual property in the metaverse and what this new playground means for their business and existing rights.
What is the metaverse?
It is difficult to describe a concept that is still being built and developed, imagine trying to describe the internet in 1970 when it was still in its infancy. In its simplest form, the metaverse is an online virtual reality where individuals and business can operate, connect, communicate, game, and explore.
Despite this uncertainty, Bloomberg reports that the metaverse could become an $800 billion market as soon as 2024 with numerous tech giants getting on board and investing in its potential.
How are products protected in the metaverse?
For now, it seems like trade marks are the most sought after IP right in the metaverse and the UKIPO has seen a considerable rise in applications for metaverse trade marks i.e., marks that include protection for goods or services specifically in this new digital environment.
It is too soon to say whether or not existing trade marks will confer the same rights to brands in the metaverse as they do in the real world. As some readers will be aware, goods and services are broken down into different “classes”, for example, footwear and articles of clothing are in class 25. However, many brands have taken to registering the same goods in classes 9 which covers computer software and importantly, virtual goods.
It therefore comes as no surprise that brands aren’t taking any risks and filing new trade marks to ensure that their products are firmly protected can be enforced against virtual copycats. The list of these brands includes Nike, YSL, Gucci, Off White and Prada.
If you have questions about the metaverse, trade marks and protecting your brand then please let us know. We’d be happy to help you navigate this new world.
Written by Katie Moruzzi, Solicitor
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