By Joseph Chow

Issue : 01_2022 / By Joseph Chow / 22 February 2022

Protecting Your Brand In The Metaverse

Metaverse, in simple terms, is the next form of the Internet.  It is a fully virtual and interconnected world where users, represented by avatars, live and enjoy the same way they do in the physical world.  You can conclude business transactions with your business partners in virtual meeting room, you can put on your digital sports outfit and go for a walk with your friends in a virtual forest, you can buy tickets at a virtual theatre to watch your favourite singer perform, you can even go to a virtual supermarket and place an order for groceries where delivery will be made to your doorstep in the real world.

Whether you like it or not, metaverse will become part of your life and people will spend more and more time in this virtual world, where there are no boundaries and with unlimited opportunities.  During the past few months, different well-known companies have announced their plans of entering the Metaverse.  McDonald’s will be offering both actual and virtual foods from its metaverse restaurants, Walmart is planning to enable shoppers in the virtual world to make purchases by non-fungible tokens, and people are buying and dressing up their avatars with Nike’s virtual sneakers and apparels.  In Korea, the Seoul government has even announced plan to make public services available on the Metaverse.  In the future, couples may even be able to get married in government’s virtual city hall.

Business opportunities are beyond imagination, and just to give you a few examples­:-

  1. If you are a fashion, jewelry, watch and accessories brand, you can sell virtual wearable items;
  2. If you are in food and beverage industry, although people cannot physically eat and drink in the virtual world, the Metaverse can be a place for you to showcase or advertise your products and customers can buy your products in your virtual restaurant or shop; and
  3. If you are in art business, exhibiting the artwork in the virtual world will save you rental.  Your exhibition will be available 24/7 and you don’t even need to hire any security guard.

Opportunities come with legal issues, and forward-thinking brands are taking steps to protect their trademark in the Metaverse.  Sportswear company New Balance has expanded their trademark registration to cover downloadable virtual goods such as footwear and sports bags for use in online virtual world.  Make-up and skin-care brand Charlotte Tilbury has also added retail store services in relation to virtual goods under their trademark.

For companies who are ready to enter the Metaverse, trademark protection should be the first item that spring to mind.  For other enterprises who may not be fully ready to embark on the journey at this stage, applying for or expanding your trademark to cover goods and services in the virtual world will prevent trademark squatters from pre-empting your rights.  It is never too early to get ready and prepare for the future, especially when the market leaders have already made their move.

Mr. Joseph Chow is the one of the co-founders of WELLINGTON LEGAL.  His area of practice is mainly focused on intellectual property, media, entertainment.  He has a strong record of advising cryptocurrency, NFT and metaverse related projects.

Joseph Chow
Partner & Co-founder
T: +852 2363 6568
F: +852 2363 8296


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