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Defending brands in the metaverse

Industrial property law

Defending brands in the metaverse

We've heard a lot about the metaverse in recent years, but what is it actually?

The term metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in a 1992 novel and refers to a three-dimensional space where people can move around, share experiences and interact with each other as if they were in the real world.

So it is a virtual reality where everyone has the choice of either using their own identity or creating a new digital identity (for example, I know someone who is bald in real life and has created an avatar with long hair).

All you need to enter the Metaverse is an internet connection and an account on one of the platforms created for decentralised reality. People who enter the Metaverse can interact with other people, engage in social activities, buy houses and properties, sell products or even build adventure parks that they ask other Metaverse users to pay tickets to enter.

People also put on branded clothes in virtual reality, so Nike took the opportunity to create Nikeland: a virtual city where new products can be tested. The company's goal is to bring prototypes of shoes to market and try them out in the virtual world before mass production begins in the real world.

However, virtual reality has also caused problems with intellectual property infringements and unfair competition practices. Nike had to take legal action in the United States in February this year against the platform StockX LLC, which was selling shoes with trademarks that matched Nike's without authorisation via NFT. The well-known brand then accused the platform of unlawfully exploiting Nike's brand recognition to confuse consumers about the origin of the products. The lawsuit has not yet been decided.