Dubai, UAE, December 25, 2023- In recent years, transactions involving virtual assets, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), have entered the mainstream in the technology industry, and the "Metaverse" has grown to dominate virtual interactions. Microsoft and Meta (formerly Facebook), two digital corporations, have also revealed intentions to create new Metaverse platforms for work and play. However, as there is now no firm legal framework controlling the Metaverse or other related technologies, there is only a general overview of the legal issues involved. From the viewpoint of intellectual property ("IP") law, this article will address the possible legal difficulties raised by the Metaverse or consult experts like HHS IP Lawyers in Dubai.
What is the Metaverse?
An immersive online experience using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies and gadgets is known as the Metaverse, a realm of limitless creativity. Web 3.0 technologies like blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs are the cornerstone on which the Metaverse is being created. Because each NFT is individually identifiable and tradeable using blockchain technology, they serve as distinct records recorded on a blockchain to demonstrate digital asset ownership.
- Metaverse brings up Intellectual Property issues: You must know.
- Because Metaverse is being created using computer software, including various programs or technologies that may be run or created using artificial intelligence, it makes fresh and complex legal challenges. Operating the Metaverse may entail concerns about patents, photographs, copyrights, trademarks, designs, drawings, and the need for specific online abilities.
- It should be no surprise that activity on the Metaverse may infringe on intellectual property rights. NFTs containing IP may have been created without the consent of the actual content creator, in violation of preexisting license agreements, or in an attempt to mimic the appearance of patents, registered trademarks, drawings, or copyrighted items in the real world.
- There may be a chance of trademark violation when purchasing and selling goods in the virtual market when copyrighted NFT artwork is sold in the Metaverse. It includes both real and false NFT artwork.
- Additionally, concerns with trade secret misappropriation and patent infringement may arise due to development of new technologies that may violate metaverse-related patents. These problems may also occur in the virtual meeting room where sensitive information is discussed.
HERMÈS INTERNATIONAL ET AL. V. ROTHSCHILD: TRADEMARK INFIRNGEMENT CASE
The case is unquestionably one that brand owners and others who make NFTs should keep an eye on. In reality, the fashion and luxury products industry is already experiencing some Intellectual Property related issues.
Facts of the Case
- The Plaintiffs include designers and manufacturers of high-end products such as handbags, clothing, scarves, jewellery, accessories for the fashion world, and home furnishings. The HERM'S and BIRKIN marks and the BIRKIN handbag design are protected by the plaintiffs' trademark and trade dress rights.
- A defendant is a digital artist who produced and distributed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called "MetaBirkin". NFTs are distinct data units on a blockchain network that may be purchased and traded. Each of Defendant's "MetaBirkin" NFTs features a fur-covered purse with the outline of a BIRKIN bag.
- The Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Defendant in January 2022, saying that their well-known BIRKIN mark had been diluted by Defendant's extensive use of the METABIRKINS mark. Additional causes of action included in the lawsuit include cybersquatting, fraudulent designation of origin, and harm to a firm's reputation.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York received a lawsuit from designer brand Hermès (Plaintiff) accusing Rothschild (Defendant) of violating its trademark in January 2022. Plaintiff asserted that Defendant is "a digital speculator" and that the term "MetaBirkin" infringes the BIRKIN trademark owned by Hermès. Additionally, it claimed that some individuals assumed Plaintiff was associated with the MetaBirkin NFTs in error, which confused the public.
DEFENSE TAKEN BY DEFENDANT
In response, Defendant asserted that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, grants him "the right to produce and sell art that portrays Birkin bags.
The Court rejected Defendant's request to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on May 5, 2022. The Court decided that the MetaBirkin NFTs met the criteria for creative works after considering the Plaintiff's arguments. The Court rejected Defendant's request to have the complaint dismissed because Plaintiff had sufficiently alleged the circumstances to support a claim that Defendant's use of MetaBirkin (1) was not artistically appropriate for the works and (2) was intentionally deceptive as to source, sponsorship, or affiliation. The power of the BIRKIN mark, proof of real confusion, and evidence of Rothschild's bad faith in adopting "MetaBirkin" are all charges made by Plaintiff.
Backing up, the most probable concerning issue for Intellectual Property owners is how to protect their Intellectual Property rights in the Metaverse against violators before the question of liability is resolved.
1. Recognition of the violation
Metaverse exists in an infinite amount of space in the digital world, in contrast to conventional physical counterfeiting operations. It is challenging to identify the infringers' identities and the precise "place" of the infraction because several servers that run the Metaverse may be involved.
2. Authority and relevant laws
Regarding the Metaverse and the related Intellectual Property concerns, several courts worldwide have varied perspectives. Although specific NFT platforms may have their dispute resolution clause and some may not, if an Intellectual Property infringement occurred on the blockchain, it would be questionable which Court would have jurisdiction to hear the case.
The Metaverse has given market participants many chances to build, promote, and monetize their intellectual property, but it has also increased the possibility of new kinds of Intellectual Property infringement. It is advised for market participants to take a proactive strategy to secure their IPs before a dispute emerges to gain more significant protection. Although the extent of Intellectual Property protection in the Metaverse is unclear, businesses and developers still need to carefully consider whether they have the necessary Intellectual Property rights for protection in the Metaverse world. Additionally, traditional methods for enforcing Intellectual Property rights may need to be reconsidered or seriously questioned.
For more information on the subject, please don't hesitate to contact HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants.
Phone:+971 52 1782364
Address: Dubai, U.A.E
This press release is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or financial advice. Neither KISS PR or its distribution partners take responsibility for the accuracy of the content provided by HHS Lawyers. Anyone involved in the activities discussed in this release should consult with a legal professional.
Remember, this press release contains a detailed explanation about complex subjects like the Metaverse, NFTs, and intellectual property rights. It's essential that the reader checks every detail before acting upon any information provided. Individuals and businesses are urged to contact HHS Lawyers directly for any queries or consultancy regarding these matters. Also, neither KISS PR nor its partners are responsible for any decision made based on this release.