The virtual worlds of the metaverse offer users countless opportunities to interact using digital assets when gaming, shopping or consuming entertainment. That means copyright, trademark and patent rights play an even more critical role than before. The metaverse therefore presents companies with new challenges – and opportunities – when it comes to the use of trademarks as well as to cross-border access to copyrighted works such as films or music.

Virtual goods and services, digital art trading and new end devices – the metaverse and all its possibilities open many exciting new avenues to explore. But companies also need to effectively protect and successfully enforce their IP rights in the metaverse.

With businesses working to ensure their trademark strategy meets their needs in the virtual realm, it’s hardly surprising that the number of trademark applications to protect digital goods and services has been increasing sharply for some time now. But while renowned fashion houses have already opened flagship stores in the new virtual environment, other trademark owners have deliberately decided not to virtualise their products and are taking legal action against third parties who use their trademarks in the metaverse. Whether trademark owners want to offer goods or services in the metaverse, or first focus on protecting their trademarks from infringement, Gleiss Lutz can assist. We analyse clients’ trademark portfolios, providing strategic advice on keeping pace with digital developments. We also monitor trademark applications for digital goods or services filed by third parties so as to identify conflicting applications early on.

Our experts can help businesses exploit their copyrighted content in the metaverse. Given the ease of cross-border access, the metaverse increasingly offers a virtual market for art and culture – but rightholders and users also have to deal with digital copies of physical works protected by copyright. We can assist our clients with the copyright issues that arise in the metaverse – such as how to draw up and negotiate terms of use for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Our decades of experience make us perfectly placed to advise on hardware- and software-related patents as metaverse technology develops. Whether it’s new VR headsets or innovative processors – we work with external patent attorneys to conduct patent searches and assess freedom to operate in the case of new products. We enforce existing IP rights, defend our clients against unfounded claims by patent holders and have particular expertise in standard-essential patents and the development of FRAND licensing terms. And our firm’s full service approach also ensures top-flight advice on any antitrust aspects.