Technology is evolving every second and change is the only constant. In a competition-driven and tech-powered ecosystem, it is imperative to be aware of where the future is headed and get the first-mover advantage. While this can be a space with multiple obstacles, it may very well be the next breakthrough.
One such development where big businesses seem to be foraying is the metaverse. Simply put, it is "a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users". However, not that simple a concept from the legal standpoint, with the lack of any laws and regulations in this space with respect to data security, privacy and censorship, regulatory enforcement, tax reporting, cyber fraud and crime. Hence, it becomes even more imperative to understand this work in progress.
Metaverse is a combination of the words 'meta' and 'universe' and is practically the creation of a parallel virtual universe with digital avatars where one may be living their regular life, an alter ego. It will expand the scope of internet to bring together digital spaces like social media, online gaming, 3D spaces, decentralized commerce, virtual / augmented / mixed / extended reality, non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrency, immersive learning and the like.
This would allow one to be sitting in the comfort of their homes and dining atop the Eiffel Tower, enabling people from different parts of the world collectively have an experience at their convenience across time zones. Another scenario could be a skiing trip to the Swiss Alps without actually travelling to the location, sans the risk of physical injury, pandemic travel restrictions and risks, and most importantly a budget that blows a hole in the pocket. While such experiences may affect tourism adversely, they may aid in preservation of the environment, and there is no saying how the metaverse will change the way we perceive the world we live in.
One of the areas which is relatively new to this concept is the Intellectual Property laws, more specifically trade marks and brand names.
Off late, one has come across various brands that have made a proactive entry into the metaverse sphere by way of filing trade mark applications in various jurisdictions including the US and EU. Many famous marks, such as NYSE, DKNY, PUMA, NIKE, etc., have been filed for such goods and services, pertaining to the Metaverse.
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