Smart tips for tackling trademark infringement in the metaverse
The metaverse paves way for new commercial opportunities for businesses to reach customers. However, this new opportunity comes with risks: trademark infringement.
In simple terms, the metaverse is a virtual world or a collection of interconnected virtual worlds that people can enter and interact with using technology. In this virtual world, by creating and using avatars users can engage in social activities, play games, buy and sell virtual goods and services through marketplaces, and more.
More valuable assets are created and traded within the metaverse as it grows in popularity. These virtual assets can come in a variety of forms, including cryptocurrencies, NFTs, collectible goods, and virtual assets.
Just like in real life, where the growing market is always engulfed with trademark infringing risks, so is the metaverse.
“Yellow card” in metaverse
In the metaverse, trademark infringement can occur in several ways, such as unauthorized usage of a brand’s logo or trademark, creating a virtual product that is similar to a brand’s product, or using a brand’s name in a way that can cause confusion amongst consumers.
The latest case was Hermès vs Mason Rothschild. The French fashion house sued an NFT artist, Mason Rothschild, for producing and selling NFTs that he named MetaBirkins.
According to Hermès, the sale of the MetaBirkins NFTs infringed on its Birkin brand, fraudulently labeling the provenance of the NFTs as if they were Hermès-authorized digital goods. This, in turn, damaged and diluted Hermès’ reputation.
The court’s final ruling found Rothschild liable for trademark infringement, brand dilution, and cybersquatting.
How to protect brands in cyberspace
Hermes’ case in the Metaverse is not an isolated incident. There is an abundance of other cases of brand infringement in cyberspace.
In fact, trademark infringement cases can also affect your product brand. In principle, the more famous your brand is, the more massive the threat to your brand’s reputation will be.
Protecting brands in the Metaverse can be a challenging task due to the unique nature of this virtual environment. The anonymity of the users and the lack of centralized authority causes a multitude of risks to arise.
However, here are some steps that can be taken to help protect your brands:
- Register your trademarks: The first step in protecting a brand in the Metaverse is to register your trademarks with the relevant authorities. This will give you legal protection for your brand and prevent others from using it without permission.
- Monitor the metaverse: Keeping an eye on the metaverse and its various platforms can help you identify any instances of trademark misuse. You can use social media listening tools or trademark watch services to monitor for any instances of unauthorized use of your brand.
- Create a brand presence in the metaverse: Establishing an official brand presence in the metaverse can aid in the promotion of your brand and make it easier for users to identify and engage with your products or services. This can include creating branded virtual goods, sponsoring virtual events, or creating branded virtual spaces.
- Enforce your rights: If you do identify instances of brand infringement or trademark misuse in the Metaverse, it is important to take action to enforce your rights. This can include sending cease and desist letters, filing complaints with the relevant platforms, performing takedowns, or taking legal action if necessary.
All-in-all, protecting your brand in the Metaverse requires a proactive and vigilant approach. By taking the necessary steps, you can ensure the safety and security of your brand from countless acts of fraud.