This article on ‘Intellectual Property in Metaverse: All you need to know‘ was written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.
The Metaverse is a burgeoning collection of cutting-edge digital experiences powered through new cloud computing models, the internet, and network connectivity. It is believed to be a type of virtual reality that combines several different digital elements. People will be able to hold meetings, learn, play games, communicate with others, and more.
Even though the Metaverse is still developing, it is clear that people will be able to design places where they can interact. Additionally, it will undoubtedly enable people to produce or utilize content that is covered by intellectual property laws. As you might expect, tracking intellectual property in the Metaverse poses a variety of possible difficulties for content owners and authors.
In this article, we will discuss the term metaverse in detail and how it is related to intellectual property rights, how it affects the same, and what role AI plays in it. In the end, we conclude the article with a short and crisp conclusion.
What does the term “metaverse” mean?
“The metaverse” can refer to both augmented reality, which blends elements of the digital and real worlds, and virtual reality, which is characterized by persistent virtual environments that remain in existence even though you’re not playing. However, it is not necessary for those locations to just be accessible through VR or AR.
The blockchain technology which has enabled NFTs viable is one of the factors that make the metaverse a hot issue within the tech world. The ownership of virtual goods such as digital art or real estate is made possible by the metaverse, which will have the potential to develop into a significant market for NFTs. Sales of all NFTs reached $40 billion in 2021 which is on pace to surpass that amount in 2022 after reaching $37 billion through the initial week in May.
Intellectual Property in the Metaverse
New chances to create hardware and software, such as Automated Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices, will probably arise as a consequence of the metaverse. As they advance, they will work to improve user-friendliness & create these gadgets more affordable and robust. Since more patentable inventions enter the market, this directly relates to intellectual property rights. Brands offering both physical and virtual goods and services as well as equipment will start to appear, leading to the creation of a virtual trademark domain. IP items will exist in both the real and virtual worlds. The network will advance thanks to user-generated content.
The majority of non-traditional trademarks, including sound markings, moving picture marks, etc., will be utilized to distinguish brands when it comes to trademarks. It will be necessary to create a brand-new type of goods and services, like downloading virtual goods, retail outlet services of virtual goods, and online entertainment facilities, because completely new products as well as services, will come onto the market. Products like eyeglasses and other equipment will be covered by patent protection and software-related innovation, like games, would be subject to copyright protection.
Large firms are registering trademarks in the United States Trademark and Patent Office which are pertinent to the sales of goods and services in the metaverse, according to several news publications. Brands are looking for both new commercial prospects and strategies for growing their presence in the metaverse. Questions about how IP rights holders can defend the marks from IP infringers within the virtual world emerge when users can purchase and sell goods, services, or even real estate in the metaverse.
Patents prevent others from copying new ideas, such as designs, procedures, or utility types, and making money from them. Contrary to copyrights, which automatically protect every original work generated, patents demand formal registration to safeguard a particular invention.
As virtual reality and the real world coexist, metaverse hardware needs to be improved. This comprises AR and VR devices like cameras, scanning sensors, haptic gloves, and headgear. Applications for metaverse-related patents are projected to rise as a result of the demand for better hardware.
The original creations of the person that are published in any physical medium are protected by copyrights. Thus, in the metaverse, works such as words, music, photos, and videos may be protected by copyright.
Copyright rules will have an impact on many different areas of the metaverse, some of which are already mentioned in this article. One issue, nevertheless, needs special attention because it represents arguably the biggest problem brought on by the implementation of the web. A decentralised internet, whereby content is stored through peer-to-peer technology like IPFS connections and exchanged by online intermediaries hosting other people’s information, is what it takes to move from a world of centralised and regulated servers.
It would be naive and short-sighted to assume the blockchain, a technology that does not (now) permit the preservation of content, will heal the internet and protect it from further copyright problems. This has been repeatedly shown that copyright can adapt to and survive technological revolutions, but despite all of its changes, it has consistently been utilised to uphold a right holder’s monopoly. Nobody can predict how copyright would fare in a world ruled by DAOs and decentralised storage, so we’ll be keeping a careful eye on it.
A trademark is a distinguishing mark or group of marks that aid consumers in determining the origin of a good or service. Words, letters, symbols, graphics, and other aspects of a company’s identity can all be used as trademarks. Also with USPTO, virtual goods and services might well be trademarked.
Brands who have already registered their trademarks for their products and services in the actual world ought to do the same for the metaverse. Consider internet shops that provide virtual items or amusement programmes created to be used in virtual worlds. Since practically all physical things can be converted into digital goods, brand owners can prevent the unauthorized use of their marks by registering their trademarks.
Trademark theft might be more challenging to stop than it would be in the actual world, similar to the challenges that rights holders encounter while protecting respective copyrights in the metaverse. Trademarks must be registered within every nation because they are not universally recognized. It is unknown how much-registered trademarks will protect rights holders from potential infringements inside the digital world if the metaverse merges between various platforms.
Working among a brand protection service, including such as Red Points, can scan the web for potential trademarks infringements and therefore can automatically put them out of business before it damages one’s brand image or revenue, is recommended for business owners as well as IP rights holders who seek to advertise their brands inside this metaverse.
Artificial Intelligence: What is its Function?
By spotting potential infractions, AI can aid in the enforcement of intellectual property laws. In the modern era, it is evident that certain businesses have substantial business models devoted to this technology and capabilities.
There is still one important issue, though: How can AI be used in the Metaverse to ensure the preservation of IP? How does it work with the blockchain?
Businesses like IBM have embraced AI for a variety of purposes, including cybersecurity, sophisticated cloud, and network orchestration, and customer service. However, AI can be used to look for infringements on intellectual property. A machine learning system, for instance, could be programmed to look for instances of video, picture, or other digital asset misuses. Legal notices that demand the removal of the assets may be delivered to the proper parties once they are discovered. The content creator can then be alerted and allowed to take appropriate action or be reimbursed by using the same AI to ascertain what type of monetization the property violation has engaged in.
The underlying concern raised by all of this is: Is stuff secure in the Metaverse? How may your material be tracked? What kind of legal safeguards will be in place to safeguard your inventions and business models? Even as Metaverse is still being developed, most of these questions are still open. There seems to be good news, though: Intellectual property has endured even in a digital economy as business methods have evolved. It makes sense to assume that the same safeguards that have kept intellectual property law alive in the Metaverse, including the deployment of AI, will do so.
The emergence of the Metaverse has an incredibly bright future for intellectual property. The metaverse will introduce fresh and cutting-edge technologies including AR and VR-related technology, advanced virtual goods and services, software and games with copyright protection, trade secrets, etc. The present approaches, such as signing non-disclosure agreements or restricting access using biometric technologies, will not be sufficient in the case of trade secrets.
Both intellectual property legislation and IPR holders face difficulties. However, this will also provide a chance for IP law to adapt and keep pace with technological advancements. It will become increasingly important and incredibly useful to take advantage of these new prospects and become compatible also with the Metaverse system.
- Eric Ravenscraft, What is the metaverse, exactly? Available at- https://www.wired.com/story/what-is-the-metaverse/
- Edward Hanapole, The metaverse of intellectual property, Available at- https://www.ibm.com/blogs/journey-to-ai/2022/04/the-metaverse-of-intellectual-property/
- Shawaiz Nisar, India: IP protection in the Metaverse, Available at- https://www.mondaq.com/india/trademark/1173882/ip-protection-in-the-metaverse#:~:text=Intellectual%20Property%20has%20really%20a,games%2C%20trade%20secrets%2C%20etc.
- Intellectual Property Rights in the Metaverse, Available at- https://www.redpoints.com/blog/metaverse-intellectual-property/