The Metaverse trademark hype is on. Companies are increasingly focusing their attention on developing Metaverses, and big brands are entering the Metaverse through gaming, social networks and virtual commerce. They need to also secure the appropriate IP rights to protect their brands in this emerging new virtual market place. Fashion brands are thus filing trademark applications in the US and the EU to secure protection for the digital projection of their shoes and accessories. Their goal is to position themselves and secure IP rights in time to reap the economic benefits of this virtual commerce space.
While the technological and commercial developments around the Metaverse are moving at a fast pace, the law is lagging. The trademark systems of the US and the EU are somewhat malleable to adaptation, allowing new filings to cover the exact goods and services to be offered and protected in Metaverse, but China struggles to cope with change. The reason is all in the DNA of the Chinese filing system. The Chinese trademark system is characterized by first-to-file and strict formalism in the selection and designation of goods and services from a classes/sub-classes structure with rigid descriptions. This formalistic system does not provide room for quick adaptation. Filing trademarks in China for the Metaverse can therefore be very challenging, because there are no goods or service descriptions that clearly suit the purpose.