What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is an extensive set of interconnected computer networks producing real-time rendered 3D virtual spaces or worlds which allow users to feel a sense of ‘reality’.
Many people view the Metaverse as the next stage of the Internet from “Web 2.0” (participatory stage/user-generated content and the current stage of the Internet) to “Web 3.0” (blockchain/decentralization/machine learning).
The potential use cases for the Metaverse includes virtual business meetings, office spaces, learning/education, games, e-sports, social platforms (e.g., Meta or Facebook), NFTs or non-fungible tokens, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
The Metaverse is still being developed, and it will take time until we see mass adoption by the public. However, companies are starting to realize the value of protecting their brands in this new virtual world.
Has Anyone Registered a Trademark for Use in the Metaverse?
As of April 05, 2022, there are at least 19 pending trademark applications that have goods and services relating to ‘metaverse’ and numerous applications relating to ‘virtual worlds’.
Many of these trademark applications were filed in recent months, indicating a growing realization of the need to protect intellectual property in the Metaverse.
The following are some of the well-known companies that have pending trademark applications to protect their brand in connection with ‘virtual worlds’ and/or ‘virtual’ goods and services:
1. Baskin Robbins;
2. Burger King;
4. Tommy Hilfiger;
7. Estee Lauder; and
8. UFC/Ultimate Fighting Championship (Zuffa LLC).
How to Trademark in the Metaverse
As with most innovative industries, the laws have not yet caught up with the Metaverse.
It is unclear how much brand protection and enforceability applies to virtual trademarks under existing Canadian trademark laws. New laws and regulations may need to be created to navigate this emerging space.
However, many businesses are not deterred by this legal uncertainty and find it valuable to file trademark applications as soon as possible - to avoid potential conflicts and infringement issues in the future.
For companies wishing to operate or provide goods/services in ‘virtual worlds’, or provide ‘virtual goods/services’, it may be useful for them to consult with an intellectual property lawyer, sooner than later.
In part 2 of the Metaverse Series, we will discuss potential infringement issues surrounding the use of trademarks in the Metaverse.
Consult with a Trademark Lawyer First
If you have any questions regarding the trademark process, please call us at (778) 565-4700, and one of our trademark lawyers will help guide you in the right direction.
The preceding content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please contact our offices directly.