Jonathan Hyman Speaks With WIPR on Considerations For Brands in the Metaverse

| Jonathan Hyman

Knobbe Martens partner Jonathan Hyman was quoted in the article "Digital Decisions: Brands in the Metaverse,” published by World Intellectual Property Review. The article discusses how brands should ready themselves for engagement in the emerging market of the metaverse.

In the article, Jonathan notes that there has been a rush of brands filing metaverse-related trademarks, for fear of being left behind: “Everyone’s waiting to see what will materialize and I think there’s going to be a lot of trial and error.”

He adds that some clients are “pretty far in the advanced stages” of mocking out how their trademarks and brands will interplay in the metaverse, while others are just starting to determine what it would entail. “The reality is,” he adds, “not every brand dovetails into something that would be played within the metaverse, but that’s not to say you wouldn’t want to file defensively.”

For brands seeking to prevent infringement and misuse in the metaverse, Jonathan makes the point that showing bona fide intent, and that brands can actually implement their metaverse plans, are both key. “It really is forcing marketing teams to figure out how they’re going to interact with their customers in these virtual spaces,” he explains. The next question, he adds, is “what are the appropriate marks to be filing? Are we just going to have a branded metaverse? Or are we going to be building things around our key menu items?”

Responding to the question of whether conventional trademark law can and should apply to metaverse-related disputes, Jonathan states, “I think the courts are really good at applying current law to new technology—they can bridge the gap. And I don’t think that there’s anything unique, really, with the NFT/metaverse space. It all comes down to consumer confusion.”

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