Ownership in the metaverse and 2022 fashion tech predictions with Vogue Business

13 January 2022

Withers fashion tech global head, Gina Bibby, was featured in two recent Vogue Business articles discussing the future of fashion tech as we look to the new year ahead, including the race to own the metaverse and fashion’s intellectual property, and more general fashion tech predictions for 2022.

The Vogue Business article, ‘How to trademark the metaverse,’ reports that luxury fashion brands are racing to own their presence in virtual spaces, including in NFTs, in-game worlds, and 3D. This race is impacting brands regardless of whether or not they are active in the metaverse yet, and brands are filing metaverse-focused patents and trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and defending their intellectual property in courts.

Gina, who advises clients on intellectual property considerations in the metaverse, confirms, “The increase in intellectual property filings signals that conducting business in the virtual world is an increasingly high priority for brands, and likely necessary for staying relevant and competitive.”

Intellectual property protection for brands in the metaverse

Ownership in the metaverse may not be the same as ownership in the physical world,” Gina warns in the article. So, what are some best practices for brands looking to protect their intellectual property in the metaverse? Gina recommends, “brands register trademarks with USPTO and foreign equivalents, consider subscribing to a trademark watch service, and before threatening trademark infringement, evaluate the nature and use of marks, as not all use in the metaverse is ‘actionable’.

Other expected top-of-mind topics in luxury fashion for 2022 are the legal and ethical issues related to NFTs. In the article, ‘2022 fashion-tech predictions,’ Gina warns that “the pace of technological change frequently outpaces the ability of laws to adapt,” adding that, for IP owners, “appropriate licensing and distribution agreements are not in place and the ubiquitous nature of the metaverse makes tracking infringers more difficult,” presenting a challenge in enforcing IP rights.

Despite this challenge, the metaverse and growth of NFTs presents an opportunity for luxury fashion brands to invest in exclusivity and consumer loyalty.

To view the full article, ‘How to trademark the metaverse,’ published by Vogue Business on January 11, 2022, please click here.

To view the full article, ‘2022 fashion-tech predictions,’ published by Vogue Business on January 4, 2022, please click here.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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