The Metaverse and Its IP Implications – It is still a “Wild, Wild West” out there

The topic of the Metaverse has generated a great deal of enthusiasm and debate in recent months. For example, Facebook changed its name to “Meta” with lots of fanfare. In another headline, Nike purchased an NFT (non-fungible token) designer company, RTFKT Studios, and appeared ready to use virtual athletic shoe NFTs to generate exposure, as well as to begin selling virtual shoes. Also, a personal injury law firm in New Jersey decided to open an office in Decentraland, claiming to be the first-ever personal injury law firm in the Metaverse.

Even more recently, as of the week of 2 February 2022, a major law firm is opening a virtual office in the Metaverse in the fashion and retail district of browser-based 3D platform Decentraland.[1][2] It is the first major law firm to open in the Metaverse.

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笔者曾在一家知名跨国企业担任知识产权(Intellectual Property, “IP”)顾问多年,愿借此平台梳理一下笔者在IP领域的实战经验并与各位同仁分享。对于涉足高科技产业的企业来说,专利与商业秘密是企业经常使用的保护研发成果的两种方法,保护的都是以技术为背景的改进或发明。

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Intellectual Property Protection


What does IP mean?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP represents property rights and is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright, industrial design and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.

What advantages do IP confer upon a company?

Companies, large and small, need to set themselves apart from others in order to compete successfully in the market place. For technology companies, their R&D efforts are often captured as inventions and proprietary technology. Inventions and proprietary technology are generally protected as patents and trade secrets, respectively. Without adequate protection, which often requires setting up an internal process to document and harvest the fruits of their R&D efforts, companies would be replaced by competitors, and lose out. Companies such as Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Nvidia, Apple, and Huawei are such IP owners, to name just a few.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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