“What Counsel Should Know to Protect Clients in the Virtual World”March 23, 2022
As the metaverse creates a new way of engaging in real-world experiences such as conducting business and socializing through virtual reality, it also enables businesses to sell their goods and for consumers to own their digital property. Yet while the metaverse opens new doors for brands and consumers to connect through these immersive experiences, Partner Cameron Pick cautions that it may simultaneously leave companies vulnerable to intellectual property issues.
“This new and improved virtual reality environment creates several legal issues, including those related to intellectual property for not only gamers but also businesses such as law firms, art galleries, real estate companies and apparel companies,” said Cameron. “More specifically, trademark owners may now need to police their marks not only in the real world, but also in the metaverse.”
He notes that patented products or devices may be represented digitally in the virtual world, however, patent holders may have a difficult time asserting that a virtual object infringes a patent for a real-world product, particularly when the inventors did not envision a virtual analog. In addition, there may be issues related to artificial intelligence (AI) or avatars within the metaverse creating software inventions or digital content, raising new challenges of who truly created and owns the asset and whether it can be copied.
Cameron advises, “IP counsel representing companies in fashion or other consumer and lifestyle industries should consider registering trademarks for virtual objects that represent real-world items to prevent counterfeiters in the metaverse. Finally, it’s imperative that IP counsel have an understanding of the metaverse and how to interact within it to monitor the rapidly evolving virtual world and protect their clients’ intellectual property rights.”
Subscribers may access Cameron's full article "What Counsel Should Know to Protect Clients in the Virtual World" published in The Legal Intelligencer.