Published June 27, 2022
Companies ranging from ANHEUSER-BUSCH to ZYRTEC have filed to register their marks for virtual goods and services. Doing so will help these companies to protect their trademark rights in the burgeoning virtual frontier known as the “Metaverse.” While the Metaverse raises numerous questions we may not be able to answer for some time (including, among other questions, how even to define it), there are some questions you can answer now to determine whether trademark registration in the Metaverse is right for your company:
- Do you know what the Metaverse is?
Don’t worry if the answer is “no.” Technically speaking, it doesn’t really exist—not yet at least. In simplest terms, the Metaverse is a (hypothetical) virtual space in which people and objects can interact across different platforms. The Metaverse may also cross over into the real world through “augmented” or “extended” reality, which users may access with special glasses or other devices that display interactive objects or modify the user’s field of vision to present information. In other words, the Metaverse may manifest itself in many ways, including some that have yet to be fully defined.
For more, check out The Metaverse, Explained for People Who Still Don’t Get It from Vice.com.
- Do you have a website, and is it an important aspect of your business model?
Many consider the Metaverse to be the next step in the evolution of the internet, and if you have an active online presence today, odds are you may be setting up shop in the Metaverse in the not-too-distant future. Securing your rights now can make that transition easier.
- Do you conduct any business online, such as online retail or software services?
If so, then the Metaverse may be a natural expansion for your business, where virtual shops are opening every day.
- Do you have any interest in or are you already dealing in non-fungible tokens (NFTs)?
The Metaverse and NFTs go hand-in-hand, and brands ranging from NIKE to CHICK-FIL-A have filed for registration in the NFT space in preparation for establishing their presence in the virtual marketplace.
- Have you previously faced or are you worried about counterfeit activity and piracy?
For all of the Metaverse’s promises, it also creates new opportunities for abuse, unfair competition, and trademark infringement. Securing your rights now may provide you with tools to combat these activities in the future.
- Are your competitors already there?
This doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you. But if you look around and see your competitors have already staked their position in the Metaverse, do you want to be the last one in?
If you think trademark registration is right for you, we can help you with that process. Registration is always optional in every “universe,” and there’s no guarantee an application for registration will be approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Legal assistance in the application and prosecution process can help you avoid the unnecessary loss of time, money, and legal rights.
We can help you avoid those pitfalls with the following services:
- Conducting a clearance search and providing a legal opinion on the availability of your trademark for use and likelihood of successful registration;
- Preparing and filing a trademark application with the USPTO;
- Responding to objections from the USPTO and oppositions from third parties;
- Securing protection in foreign countries as needed; and
- Enforcing your trademark rights against infringement by third parties.
If you’re still unsure, either about protecting your trademark rights in the Metaverse or trademark registration in general, we can guide you through the decision-making process.
Even if your entry into the Metaverse is years away, getting an application on file now with the USPTO can secure your place in line ahead of others who may have the same idea.
Kevin Collette and John Halski are attorneys in Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC’s Trademarks & Intellectual Property Group. Kevin can be reached by phone at 206.654.2252. or by email at [email protected]. John can be reached by phone at 206.654.2211 or by email at [email protected].