Branding in the Metaverse: The Future of Virtual Goods Trademarks

An interesting article published on Fashion Law….

Here’s the introduction

Nike is not the only company thinking about the role of branding in the metaverse. The Beaverton, Oregon-based titan recently made headlines after filing a number of intent-to-use trademark applications in the U.S. and beyond for its most famous trademarks – such as its “Nike,” “Just Do It,” and “Jordan” word marks, its iconic swoosh logo, the Jordan silhouette logo, and a stylized combination of its name and the swoosh – for use on various virtual goods/services. Specifically, the applications suggested – and its subsequent launch of the Roblox-hosted Nikeland experience confirmed – that Nike was looking to use its famed marks on “downloadable virtual goods;” “retail store services featuring virtual goods;” and “entertainment services, namely, providing on-line, non-downloadable virtual footwear, clothing, headwear, eyewear, [and] bags,” among other things, “for use in virtual environments.” 

While Nike is an early-mover both in terms of its entrance into the metaverse (it first partnered with Roblox back in 2019 and with video game-makers before that) and in terms of its trademark filings, the Swoosh is not the only trademark that is going to populate the growing metaverse. Brands ranging from sportswear giants to luxury goods purveyors like Balenciaga and Gucci are readily considering – and in some cases, actively testing – how they can use the metaverse (i.e., a space that combines immersive virtual reality, massive multi-player online gaming platforms, and various other facets of the web) to connect with consumers and generate additional revenue.

In that same vein, Nike is hardly the only brand seeking out trademark registrations in connection with such budding virtual ventures. In fact, since the news of Nike’s filings – most of which were lodged with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in late October – came to light in early November, a swiftly growing number of brands have filed applications for registration with the USPTO, and other national trademark offices, as well.

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