Metavers & intellectual property

Metavers & IP

What legal strategy for your company?

By 2026, you could be spending 25% of your time in the metaverse*.
*According to a study by the GARTNER agency
Consulting and research agency in the field of advanced technology

01. 01.

01. What is a metaverse?

decentraland metavers

The metaverse is a version of the Internet that incorporates three-dimensional virtual environments.

There is no such thing as a single, global metaverse. immersive, interconnected 3D virtual worlds where people can interact through an avatar and pursue or initiate tasks identical to those experienced in real life.

In practical terms, what do we do?

You can shop, attend events such as Fashion Week, concerts or parties, work, buy and build virtual houses on virtual land, pay in crypto-currency...

recent examples of metaverse applications

Here are a few recent examples of applications.
(Click on the images to display the text)
March 2022: Decentraland organizes the1st FashionWeek in the metaverse, featuring shows by Dolce & Gabbana and Elie Saab.
the 1st Fashion Week
June 2022: Meta creates a virtual boutique to dress its avatar in the metaverse. The first outfits presented are by Balenciaga and Prada.
Virtual store on meta
August 2022: Radio iHeartMedia launches its own dedicated space in Fortnite to host events and concerts.
Radio iHeartMedia
Radio iHeartMedia on fortnite
August 2022: MTV Video Music Awards for "Best Performance in the Metaverse".
BlackPink metavers
MTV Video music awards
August 2022: Singer Ariana Grande performs in Fortnite.
ariana grande concert
August 2022: Bulgari launches the "Bulgari Sunset in Jeju" virtual boutique (avatar clothing).
bulgari launches its boutique
Sept. 2022: Qatar Airways creates its world in the metaverse (cabin visits, presentation of the metahuman crew, World Cup game).
the creation of
Sept. 2022: Tommy Hilfiger organizes a "See Now - Buy Now" show inspired by Andy Warhol's Factory and broadcasts it live on Tommy Play on Roblox.
Tommy Play
tommy hilfiger fashion show

01. 02.

02. industries investing in the metaverse

which industries?

La Mode
Video games
Education & e-learning

For what purpose?

Broaden your target (generation Z/millennials)
An image of prestige and exclusivity
Expand products (sell digital duplicates, exclusive collections in the metaverse)
Improve visibility (create events in the metaverse, etc.)
Building a strong community

01. 03.

03. What IP strategy to adopt in the metaverse?

3.1 Trademark law

Trademark owners should audit their previous trademark filings and, if necessary, re-file their trademarks, adapting the wording to the metaverse, in particular by extending protection to new classes of goods and services.
New classes of products and services.
Downloadable virtual products, i.e. computer programs related to - or including - [specify products such as perfumes, bags, etc.].
Retail store services for virtual products, entertainment services.
Entertainment services, such as the online provision of real and virtual concerts, exhibitions, games and other virtual events.
Virtual products not downloadable online and NFT.
In the United States
This is the number of trademark applications filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for products and services related to NFT, metaverse and web3 in general, between January and August 2022.
A few examples of deposits
HERMES has filed a trademark application with the USPTO in August 2022, covering NFTs, crypto-currencies, online games, clothing, accessories, exhibitions and fashion shows in virtual worlds.
Sony Music Entertainment recently filed a trademark application for web3, with a view to launching a project combining music and NFT.
McDonald' s has filed applications for the operation of a virtual restaurant, real and virtual online concerts and other entertainment services in its virtual McCafé.
Victoria Secret registered four metaverse trademarks in February 2022 for the sale of virtual goods and services in online and virtual environments.
But also Levi's, Wrangler, Playboy, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren Versace, Vans, Chevron, Monster, Colgate...
In Europe
This is the number of trademark applications filed with the European Office (EUIPO) for products and services related to NFTs, metavers and web3 in general, between January and August 2022 .
A few examples of deposits
The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode registered an EU trademark in February 2022 for, among other things, " Organizing fashion shows for promotional purposes, including in virtual computer universes (metavers )".
Yves Saint Laurent filed an EU trademark in April 2022 for " virtual goods featuring perfumes, toiletries, cosmetics (...) for use in the metaverse and other online virtual environments ".
The EU trademark " The Voice of " was registered in June 2022 and targets in particular "metaverse, augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, non-fungible tokens (NFT)."
Jean-Paul Gautier filed an EU trademark in August 2022 for " the provision of a metaverse for people to browse, buy (...) virtual perfumes(...), virtual clothes (...) in virtual environments created for entertainment purposes ".
Our legal recommendations
For all trademarks: audit previous trademark registrations and, if necessary, re-file the trademarks, adapting the wording to the metavers, and extending protection to classes 9, 35, 41 and 42.
Protect logos and essential graphic elements: as the metaverse is essentially a visual universe, they tend to be more widely used than word marks.
Protecting your trademark in the U.S.:
- U.S. law takes a narrow view of the notion of infringement in relation to the products protected in the wording
- Infringement gives access to punitive damages
- Most metavers are governed by U.S. law
Without adequate protection for their brands on the web3 , companies can be outpaced by illegitimate applicants:
In November 2021, an individual filed a trademark application for "GUCCI" related to the metaverse covering classes 9, 35 and 41.
At the same time, another individual filed an application for the "PRADA" metaverse mark in classes 9, 35 and 41.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected these applicationsthe two individuals had no connection with either company.

3.2 In copyright law

Anything not expressly assigned is reserved to the author.
Anything not authorized is prohibited.
In practice
Check whether the contract provides for, or is likely to provide for, exploitation of the products covered by the copyright in the metaverse.

The contract does not provide for exploitation in the metaverse, but it expressly provides for modes of exploitation not foreseeable or not foreseen at the date of the contract.
Our legal recommendations
It is advisable to amend the contract by means of a rider.
Modify future contracts by inserting a clause providing for exploitation of copyrighted products in the metaverse.

01. 04.

04. In conclusion, what should we remember?

Companies in all sectors will be legally impacted by the Metaverse phenomenon.
‍Concrete legal actions can be implemented now and in particular:
Adapting the scope of trademark protection to make it compatible with the protection of virtual products and their distribution.
Adapting existing or future Intellectual Property contracts to the economic reality of Metavers.
Find out more about the legal challenges of Metavers by watching the replay of our Webinar : Metavers: is your company legally ready for the Internet of the future?
Is your company thinking about its legal strategy for Web3 development?
Let's talk!
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