Significant increase in the number of companies protecting themselves against copycats in the metaverse

Published 24-01-2023

The number of European trademark applications involving the metaverse has skyrocketed in just two years. The Danish Patent and Trademark Office has noticed a similar trend in Denmark.

More and more companies are moving their business into the digital universe. As more players grapple with the new technological space of the metaverse, the need for brand and trademark protection is ever present.

New figures from the European trademark organisation, EUIPO, reveal a major increase in trademark applications involving, among other things, the metaverse. The number of applications involving virtual goods, for example, increased from 237 applications in 2021 to 1,599 in 2022. Applications to register so-called Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) increased from 213 in 2021 to 1,270 in 2022, while applications involving the metaverse increased from five in 2021 to 362 in 2023.

"We have also noticed this trend with Danish applications. Some of the applications are from companies that have traditionally produced goods for the physical world, but which now also seem to be preparing for the business potential of virtual worlds," says Henriette Vængesgaard Rasch, Director of Trademarks at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office.

Counterfeit goods are a major problem both in the analogue and online world, costing businesses almost DKK 7 billion on the Danish market alone.

"Copycats seek profit. Therefore, we recommend that you consider whether - and to which extent - you should protect your business with a registered trademark - and how to protect it against infringements in the metaverse. If you are copied without your rights in place, it will typically be more difficult to do anything about it," says Vængesgaard Rasch.

The 12th edition of the Nice Classification includes changes to the wording regarding crypto-assets and has also added an example of the classification of an item authenticated by an NFT.