As an example, Gucci offers virtual handbags, and you can now buy adidas and Nike digital sneakers. These digital products are, amongst others, traded via NFTs: non-fungible tokens a non-replaceable certificate of ownership.
Consequences for trademark holders
While the entire metaverse is, of course, still in its infancy, and it’s impossible to predict where it’s going, trademark owners should still be on the lookout. If you’re going to enter this world with your trademark, carefully consider possible consequences for trademark protection. There’s quite a difference between a virtual shoe and an actual shoe.
RTFKT is now a part of the NIKE, Inc. family. 🌐👁🗨 pic.twitter.com/5egNk9d8wA
— RTFKT Studios (@RTFKTstudios) December 13, 2021
Nike buys NFT & virtual shoe company RTFKT
Example Nike in metaverse
For example, Nike has trademark registrations for shoes and clothing, among other things. According to the administrative rules of trademark law, shoes and apparel belong in class 25 of trademark registration. But what about the metaverse?
Should those new virtual shoes simply be seen as a subcategory of actual shoes, and does your current trademark registration in class 25 also cover the virtual clothing? Or is it best to apply for additional registration and explicitly mention the virtual clothing in class 25? On the other hand, it’s likely that those virtual shoes don’t belong in class 25 but rather in software classification 9 because a digital shoe is simply considered downloadable software in the registration system?
Trademark holders in the metaverse
There are still many questions now, and it’s clear that you have to remain alert in the metaverse in the coming period as a trademark owner. So, naturally, we closely follow the developments and positions of the international trademark authorities and advise our clients about any steps to be taken. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your trademark in the metaverse.