What is the Metaverse and how does it relate to my trade mark?

We all remember a simpler time when deciding what to trade mark or not to trade mark was based on what physical goods or services you were involved in.

Then along came the colour and smell trade marks – we all associate Cadbury with their particular colour purple and Tiffany with their distinctive colour blue!

Now, there are trade marks being sought for virtual goods and services!

While Mark Zuckerberg might have brought this to the front of our minds with his recent rebranding of the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to Meta Platforms, the origins of the term “metaverse” can be traced back to 1992!

That was the year a novel was released which the term was coined.  Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” was about how humans interacted with each and software in a 3D virtual space.  (For those interested, the book is still available to purchase at all good book stores.)

But getting back to the fuss that Zuckerberg created, if he was making such a big change then it must be a big deal (even though the company lost a lot of ground on the stock market after the release).

So what exactly is it – well it’s hard to explain really.  According to the Oxford Dictionary the metaverse – is “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”.  Wikipedia calls it “a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection”.

Getting trade mark protection is the first step for companies wanting to get involved.  Trade marks are being sought for virtual goods and services.   In the US Nike applied for trade mark applications for their most well-known marks in class 9 (downloaded virtual goods) and class 42 (retail store services featuring virtual goods).  In Australia this would be class 9 and 35.

Getting protection in the virtual world could mean that your well known brand remains yours in the virtual world!

Facebook is not the only company getting on board – Gucci and Ralph Lauren are also getting involved!

So let’s all buckle up and enjoy the ride into the next frontier – the metaverse.

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