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Importance of IP in metaverse

Introduction:

As more and more companies move into the super-hyped space of metaverse, the importance of Intellectual Property (IP) becomes more and more crucial than ever. IP is what allows companies to protect their ideas and innovations and is essential for any business hoping to succeed in any domain- including the metaverse!

One might wonder, which kind of IP is most relevant for metaverse? Well, there are different types of IP each protecting different part of your inventions, and each offers different kind of protection. Here, we’ll take a look at the different types of IP and explore who the leaders are in the Metaverse space when it comes to patent ownership!

What is the buzzing word: Metaverse?

Simply speaking, the Metaverse is a virtual world that exists online, and is made up of a series of connected 3-D spaces referred to as “Metaverse World” or a “Metaverse Environment”. In metaverse, people can interact with each other, create and share content, conduct events, attend music concerts, own real estate and even conduct business. It is a widespread connectivity which is maintained by augmented reality and virtual reality. Metaverse adds a third dimension for users to explore in an intuitive and realistic manner.

As with any virtual world, the metaverse needs rules and regulations to ensure that novelty, creativity and uniqueness of each stakeholder is protected in right spirit. That’s exactly where IP steps in. IP is what protects the ideas and creations of people in the metaverse, and it’s essential for keeping the metaverse world running smoothly without illegal copying, brand abuse, and counterfeiting of existing IP owners.

Zooming in: Intellectual Property

IP is a term that covers a wide range of creations, starting from trademarks and copyrights to patents and trade secrets. In the context of the metaverse, protectable IP assets may range from copyrightable literary work to all trademarks which includes brands, slogans and design patent protection for different configurations. It’s important to protect your IP in the metaverse, as it can be a valuable asset to your company. You may sue anyone copying or misusing your IP. There is also a possibility of licensing your IP and monetizing on it. Companies that own strong IP can earn significant revenue from licensing and royalties, while also protecting their competitive edge.

Why protect your IP in the metaverse?

Metaverse is a rapidly growing virtual world that offers endless opportunities for businesses and individuals alike. As this new frontier continues to evolve, it’s important to protect your IP in order to maximize your potential return on investment. IP infringement can take place in the metaverse at every step. For instance, selling of copyrighted NFT artwork in the metaverse may have both fake as well as authentic artworks. Even trademark infringement can occur while buying and selling of virtual products pretty much like in real world. Needless to say, trade secrets which are really crucial in the metaverse are very likely to be jeopardized. These reasons are quite convincing for why one should consider protecting your IP before entering the Metaverse, aren’t they?

Additionally, the metaverse is a global platform involving users from all over the world. This presents a unique opportunity to expand your business into new markets, but only if you have the appropriate IP protection in place. Without protection, you could be vulnerable to lawsuits and other legal actions from overseas competitors.

Moreover, investors are increasingly looking at IP portfolios and IP valuation for all sized companies when making decisions about whether or not to invest in the company. Who would want to miss on that?! By having a strong IP portfolio, you can demonstrate the potential value of your business and increase your chances of securing funding.

How Can You Protect Your Intellectual Property in the Metaverse?

When it comes to intellectual property in the Metaverse, it’s important to take the same precautions you would in the physical world. Here are a few tips on how to protect your IP in the Metaverse:

1. File patents, trademarks and copyrights: First things first. The best way to protect your innovative technology is to file patents, trademarks and copyrights with the relevant authorities in jurisdictions of your interest. This will give you legal rights to your IP, an upper hand over your competitors, and prevent others from infringing on your rights as well. Patents can protect unique systems, methods and processes. Design patent protections for unique aesthetic creations and configurations are also seeing rise in demand with every passing day. Trademarks can help you guard business/brand name, logos, tag lines, slogans, and even distinctive gestures and sounds! Whereas copyright can come to rescue for safeguarding platform layouts, user interfaces, websites and so on.

2. Perform an IP analysis: Companies should undertake a thorough and in-depth analysis of virtual landscape with respect to IP and identify green space and freedom to operate. Such thorough analysis would not only help one identify patented domains, technologies but also help in preventing infringement of others IP.  

3. Use security measures: Make sure you use strong passwords and security measures to protect your IP from theft or unauthorized access. Enforce privacy policy, secrecy agreement to maintain absolute data privacy and protection.

4. Keep track of your IP portfolio: Keep track of all the IP you own and where it’s registered. This will help you keep track of your assets and ensure that all your intellectual property is accounted for.

5. Educate your employees: Make sure your employees understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and know how to identify and report infringements.

6. Get legal advice: If you’re not sure how to protect your intellectual property or if someone is infringing on your rights, consult us and we would have your back.

Who is leading IP race in Metaverse?

Although the term metaverse has been around since 1992, recent years have seen a spike in patent filings around this domain. There are a few key players in the world of intellectual property when it comes to the metaverse including IBM Corp, HTC, Microsoft Corp and so on. Technology wise the patents relate to latest advancements in virtual reality, augmented reality technology, gestures in metaverse, communications in metaverse and the like. Here is a recent pictorial depiction of the companies who are the top players in the meta- universe and their current number of records i.e. patent filings:

(Source: Patseer)

In addition to patent filing, these companies are also leaders in trademark and copyright protection. They have a large portfolio of registered trademarks and copyrights that cover everything from VR software to AR hardware. By protecting their intellectual property, these companies are able to maintain a strong competitive edge in the ever-changing metaverse landscape.

Conclusion:

Arguably IP has a wide role to play in the Metaverse. Metaverse is bringing in new advanced innovations in AR and VR technology, copyrightable games, NFTs, trade secrets etc. As technology advances, it will be difficult for non-IP holders to hold their ground in metaverse as IP laws are unescapable. Having said that, even the IP law needs to evolve and remain in sync with the technological advancements. There is a growing need to be compatible with the metaverse and it is always better to have a better understanding of the laws that play a major role in the Metaverse.

Needless to iterate, wise thing to do is to protect your innovation through appropriate IP routes, avoid infringing someone else’s IP, and keep an eye out for potential copycats stealing or benefitting from your IP. So, when are you putting your IP portfolio in place? Reach out to us at www.photonlegal.com and we would be happy to help. Keep innovating, keep protecting your IP!

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  1. World beyond the Universe: METAVERSE (available at: https://photonlegal.com/blogs/world-beyond-the-universe-metaverse/ )
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