Trademarks in the Metaverse

2 minute read
Trademarks in the Metaverse
As the digital frontier expands into the immersive world of the metaverse, protecting brand identity and intellectual property takes on new dimensions. From Nike to Facebook, major brands are rushing to trademark their digital assets, signaling the metaverse's looming impact on commerce and interaction. In this article, we'll explore the why and how of trademarking in the metaverse.

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is essentially an immersive experience that integrates the virtual world and reality, allowing users to interact with one another even if they are not physically in the same space. People can work, shop, and socialize in the metaverse the same way they do in real life. This inevitably translates to a digital economy; users can sell and purchase virtual products, like clothes and real estate, that only exist in the metaverse. 

Who is trademarking in the Metaverse?

Major brands are preparing to enter the metaverse by trademarking their logos and products. 

  • Nike has filed seven trademark applications with the USPTO in which the company indicated its intent to make and sell virtual apparel. 
  • CVS Health filed to trademark its pharmacy and health clinics with the USPTO, intending to patent sales of virtual goods like wellness and beauty products, prescription drugs, and non-emergency medical services.
  • Walmart has filed several trademarks that indicate its intent to market virtual goods. In a separate filing, Walmart specified that it would offer customers NFTs and a virtual currency. 
  • Most notably, Facebook has dedicated itself to total immersion in the metaverse. Last year, the company officially changed its name to Meta. 

Why are trademarks in the Metaverse important?

Your intellectual property is valuable and should be protected- both physically and virtually. Creators are already taking advantage of the unprecedented circumstances created by the introduction of the metaverse. For example, third-parties filed two trademark applications last year to use Prada and Gucci logos on “downloadable virtual goods” on metaverse platforms. The third parties are unaffiliated with the real Prada and Gucci, but their attempt to capitalize on  major brands in the metaverse marketplace is an indication of what is to come.

 Shielding your brand’s name and image in the virtual world is crucial. Lloyd & Mousilli can guide you through the complexities of obtaining a trademark for use in the metaverse to ensure you are afforded the protection your brand is entitled to. 

What protections does a trademark in the Metaverse offer?

Fraudulent use of your intellectual property by unaffiliated third parties can be detrimental to your brand’s image. The last thing you want is your customers being exposed to confusingly similar products being sold by infringers. A trademark will legally protect your brand in the event that your products or intellectual property are infringed upon. Even if your brand has already obtained trademark registrations for the “real world,” you should consider filing separate applications for those existing trademarks that cover distinct virtual goods and services. This will ensure that such rights are recognized and protected in the metaverse virtual marketplace. 

How are trademarks in the Metaverse enforced?

The first course of action to enforce a trademark is typically to send a cease and desist letter to the infringer. If this is unsuccessful in stopping the infringement, the next step is to file a lawsuit. Trademarking in the metaverse is a relatively new concept so it is still too early to say exactly how trademark enforcement in the virtual world will unfold, but the general process of stopping an infringer will be the same. Lloyd & Mousilli is prepared to preserve the integrity of your brand by counseling you in the event of trademark infringement.

You Want In: Where Do You Start?

Filing a trademark application for your brand is the first step. Lloyd & Mousilli's trademark attorneys understand the complexities of intellectual property, as well as the intersection of technology and law. Book a consultation to discuss more in depth about the trademark process as it pertains to the metaverse.

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