The coming impact of the Metaverse raises many critical questions about the intellectual property rights of individuals and businesses. While there is no doubt that intellectual property rights extend to the internet, the purported blending of the physical and virtual worlds in the Metaverse means that companies must take proactive steps to protect their IP.
With individuals able to create new settings and outfits for their avatars as they see fit, it is no wonder that companies will want to protect their intellectual property in the Metaverse. A skilled intellectual property attorney could help identify areas of potential vulnerability, ensure that current IP protections remain in effect, and identify realistic actions in the event of an infringement.
The rise of the online space in the late 20th century forced Congress and the courts to reevaluate how they deal with intellectual property rights. With users from around the world able to access digital information regardless of their physical location, protections for trademarks, patents, and copyrights now extend around the world.
For example, if a user in Germany places a sound file on their webpage from a music artist’s copywritten material, that artist has the right to pursue an infringement case against the web page’s owner. Similar concepts apply to the use of trademarks and even the distribution of computer code that may occur in other countries. Talking with a tenacious lawyer could help individuals and companies determine their current IP protection status.
Up until now, there was a strict defining line between the digital and physical world. However, the Metaverse claims to be able to change this dynamic. The Metaverse can superimpose digital images over real-world settings, often in real-time. This means that companies may find their products in different settings than they intended, or their slogans being used in unauthorized ways.
A major concept to consider here is the licensing of intellectual property. For example, individual entities may create Metaverse settings and want a company to allow for the use of their products within those settings. This could have a wide variety of applications, from clothing for digital avatars, to the hanging of artwork in a digital home. Creating effective licensing agreements for the use of this property is vital for companies looking to protect their IP and improve their online presence.
Similarly, it is essential to be able to identify instances of infringement that may affect intellectual property rights in the Metaverse. If a company or individual uses your IP for a non-licensed purpose, this counts as infringement under current United States IP laws. However, it may be difficult to determine if the infringement occurred without the knowledge or permission of the site’s creators, or if the site’s creator was the source of the infringement. Another key question to consider is whether pursuing an IP infringement case will bring benefits that outweigh what the public may consider the “bullying” of content creators by a brand’s owner.
The Metaverse aims to change how we all interact with each other and our surroundings while online. This blending of the digital world and our physical location promises to bring powerful advertising opportunities and product demonstrations.
With this in mind, it is crucial to protect your company’s intellectual property. This may include copywritten material, trademarks, and patents. The team at Lomnitzer Law is ready to explain how the Metaverse works and how it may pose a threat to your IP. We can also protect your intellectual property in the event of an infringement.