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Often characterized as the next level in the evolution of the Internet, the Metaverse is aimed at a three-dimensional environment of virtual reality where users can meaningfully interact not only with other users but also with the virtual environment itself. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook (rebranded as Meta), describes Metaverse as “a materialized internet that is not just looking, but experiencing.” Users interact in parallel space through avatars and other mechanisms for games and other activities, decentralized commerce, social media, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies and other certified digital assets. You will be able to access the 3D environment. others. Therefore, participants can engage in any number of virtual reality activities and transactions with others at any conceivable virtual location, whether based on reality or fantasy.
These activities include virtual tourism, dining, shopping, games and more. Retailers, advertisers, game platform creators, and similar companies are already aware of the great potential of the Metaverse as a commercial space. Similar to the wide reach of the modern Internet, Metaverse offers the opportunity to reach a global customer base in real time or near real time. However, the Metaverse has the potential to reach its global base in a virtual 3D environment that resembles real-world face-to-face interactions.
Metaverse’s virtual commercial companies include branded clothing and shoes for avatars, virtual “real estate” concerns, virtual restaurants offering virtual food and drink, home delivery, advertising, and certainly Meta, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, With a wide range of major retailers and social media entities such as Pumpernickel Associates (Panera), McDonalds, Ralph Lauren, Alibaba, Visa and American Express, Metaverse has already taken steps to establish the existence of the Metaverse. Virtual items such as NFTs are sold at exceptional prices.
As in the early days of the Internet, the early Metaverse remained legal in some respects, with data security, privacy, censorship, enforcement, taxation, and cyber fraud / crime issues remaining unresolved. “Wild West”. Similarly, the details of the treatment of specific intellectual property (IP) rights in the Metaverse are unresolved. IP protection and related enforcement and licensing considerations are further complicated by the easy migration potential of consumers, virtual retailers, and infringers across the various platforms of this virtual world. However, there are various mechanisms for IP protection that rights owners can use to protect their IP in the Metaverse.
Trademark law is such that rational consumers are confused about the source of goods / services, that is, they mistakenly conclude that the owner of the trademark is the source of a third party. Widely protects the use of unauthorized trademarks by. -The party’s potentially inferior goods / services, or the trademark owner’s approval or sponsorship of a third party’s potentially inferior goods / services. Trademark law also provides for the protection of well-known trademarks against the dilution of goodwill associated with them. As brand owners establish and expand their presence in the Metaverse, trademark law is increasingly considered in the promotion and protection of these brands.
Nice classification systems for classifying goods and services have not yet been updated to classify such virtual goods / services, but many well-known brand owners have found that various goods and services in the United States. I am submitting a trademark / service mark registration application. EU, China, and other jurisdictions. Such filings include descriptions of various virtual products such as virtual / enhanced / mixed reality software. Virtual and digital assets such as NFTs, cryptocurrencies, artwork and collectibles. Software and interfaces that allow users to view, buy, sell, and trade such virtual and digital assets. There are also virtual products with the famous mark.
As in the real world, sellers looking to protect trademarks / service marks in Metaverse are unconventional in words, designs, shapes, packages, colors, and even sounds, movements, scents, tastes, patterns, and patterns. Other potentially protectable elements of the mark.
Copyright law protects “original works fixed to tangible media of expression.” Therefore, software code used to create virtual environments, virtually displayed paintings and graphic works, virtually displayed text, recordings, and other such used / displayed / executed within the Metaverse. Works are subject to traditional copyright protection. However, potential licensing and enforcement issues in the Metaverse pose new challenges to copyright protection. Copyright territoriality is a concern given the potential ease of migration between Metaverse virtual platforms. This ease of migration between platforms also presents challenges in tracking fraudulent use for damages purposes or for authorized use for license royalties. Similarly, enforcement / removal mechanisms may require new technologies and / or new or modified enforcement / removal strategies that meet the challenges of virtual environments.
The main consideration of patent protection related to the Metaverse could be the hardware and software used to create the various virtual environments and avatars that exist in this virtual world, at least initially. Improvements in augmented reality and virtual reality techniques are inevitable, and the protection of intellectual property rights in those techniques is essential. It includes display technologies that provide video and audio (headsets, goggles, etc.) and applications for recording and tracking eye, hand, and body movements to interact with virtual environments and other users’ avatars. May be included. In addition, hardware and software IP protection is required to simulate the sense of touch and potentially taste and smell in virtual environments.
Commercially, the protection of novel decorative features of products by design patents may also be reflected in the protection of IP in the Metaverse virtual world.
The issue of enforcement of legal rights, including intellectual property rights, in the Metaverse is highly uncertain. Are owners of various virtual platforms responsible for policing / enforcement similar to current non-judicial means of resolving IP disputes, such as those implemented by Amazon, Google, etc.? Is one or more existing or newly developed government agencies responsible for enforcement? In the latter case, how would the issue of national jurisdiction related to the Metaverse IP be resolved? These are all questions that must be answered as the commercial potential of the Metaverse evolves.
Due to these uncertainties, a proactive approach to establishing the existence of the Metaverse is essential to success. As always, an ounce of prophylaxis is worth a pound of treatment and can even save legal costs. Unlike the analysis normally done when launching a product or company in the real world, sellers are encouraged to carefully consider the particular virtual environment in which they offer to sell their goods or services. Inevitably, virtual worlds attract infringers who are trying to abuse someone else’s IP for commercial gain, so it is imperative that this analysis include positive considerations for IP protection. In fact, even sellers who choose not to implement Metaverse’s retail presence infringe the seller’s intellectual property rights in Metaverse in a way that could adversely affect real-world rights owners. You need to consider the possibility of taking action to do. As an example, consider how easy it is to create an infringing digital representation of a product compared to producing a counterfeit version of a real product in the real world. Reliance on existing “real world” IP protection that is automatically converted to the metaverse may be a viable option for protection, but at risk.
According to the company’s business model and / or product, the IP protection strategy updates new and / or existing brand protection schemes to register important marks, including descriptions of relevant “virtual” class products and services. It may include including an application. Mark of virtual goods / services sold in the Metaverse virtual market. Sellers who sell products with unique design elements that can be digitally counterfeited in the Metaverse implement protection of the design elements with trade dresses, optionally trademarks, copyrights, and potentially design patents. You should consider protecting those elements with a metaverse, such as. Software and hardware authors designed to create or access virtual platforms that contribute to the virtual world of the metaverse are, of course, the traditional patent protection and copyright protection of such software / hardware. Should be considered.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject. Expert advice should be sought for certain situations.