Metaverse and the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

May 25, 2023

Merriam-Webster characterizes the metaverse as “a tireless virtual climate that permits admittance to and interoperability of various individual computer-generated simulations.” The dystopian science fiction novels that used the term “metaverse” to describe an immersive, computer-generated virtual world are the source of the term. The present “metaverse” is currently solidly coordinated into the innovation area and can be considered a typical virtual world shared by all clients across a majority of stages. Instances of metaverse-related innovation incorporate the product that creates these virtual conditions, as well as computer-generated reality (VR) and expanded reality (AR) headsets and different gadgets that empower human communication with the climate and portrayals of different people inside it.

The reception of metaverse-related innovation is extending. In an effort to emphasize its dedication to the creation of a metaverse, the company that was formerly known as Facebook changed its name to “Meta” in 2021. Apple announced the development of its own VR/AR headset in the fall of 2022. The first Metaverse Fashion Week was also held in 2022.

The fact that technology companies anticipate that the metaverse will eventually replace the internet, smartphones, and/or social media is exemplified by these occurrences. This reflects the growing importance placed on the metaverse. The metaverse can be used for more than just socializing and playing games. As the metaverse grows, more people are realizing how useful it could be in other fields like education, finance, and medicine.

As patent lawyers and trend-setters, we inquire: To best safeguard metaverse-related inventions, how can the patent system’s existing framework be utilized?

Utilizing Licenses to Safeguard Imaginative Ideas in the Metaverse

In this blog entry, we investigate contemplations for safeguarding creations in and connected with the metaverse. Since a significant number of these advancements are new and the business encompassing the metaverse is in its early stages, creations made today might end up being very important before long. Safeguarding these developments today is probably going to be definitely worth the interest from here on out. Both utility patents, which focus on an invention’s functional benefits, and design patents, which focus on an invention’s ornamental aspects, can be used to protect metaverse-based inventive concepts.

Utility Applications for Metaverse

Utility licenses might be utilized to safeguard the practical parts of equipment or programming-based imaginative advancements in the metaverse.

Headsets, displays, cameras, user control interfaces, networked storage and servers, processors, power components, interoperability, communication latency, and other similar technologies may be the subject of patent protection by innovators in the metaverse. These equipment-based creations for the metaverse might be a characteristic extension of those recently produced for expanded and computer-generated reality, computer game innovation, or the web. As a result, applicants for patents may look to those fields for advice on how to safeguard their hardware-based inventions. Choosing whether or not to pursue patent protection and how to do so are crucial decisions, as is the case with any patent application.

Software-based inventions may include speech/voice processing, the representation of virtual environments and avatars, and blockchain transactions (for purchasing virtual goods, for instance) that are associated with performing tasks in the metaverse. The patent eligibility bar in 35 U.S.C. 101 prohibits the patenting of “abstract ideas,” which may include methods of organizing human activity, mental processes, and mathematical concepts. As a result, these software-based inventions may face additional obstacles at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). During the examination process, it is typical for software-related patent applications to receive a patent eligibility rejection.

The fact that software that merely implements a process that is equivalent to a known process outside of the metaverse environment is unlikely to be permitted by the USPTO is one obstacle to patenting software-based applications for the metaverse. Nonetheless, a product-based creation that records the progressions presented by being in a metaverse climate and addresses what explicit issues were novel to the metaverse might be found patentable by the USPTO. As a result, it may be best practice to include specifics regarding the considerations taken to account for the change in operating in the metaverse environment as opposed to a non-metaverse environment in any patent applications that are related to the metaverse.

In addition, while applicants for patents may draft applications with the USPTO in mind, they should also take into account the difficulties of claiming global patent protection for software-related technologies. For instance, applicants for patents ought to take into consideration the fact that, absent specific indications of how a software-based invention provides a technical solution to a technical problem, patents for software processes are more difficult to obtain in Europe.

Applications for Design in the Metaverse Metaverse innovators may also use design patents to safeguard ornamental aspects of their invention. For instance, design organizations might look for insurance of their marked articles inside the metaverse. It’s possible that technology companies will try to safeguard the decorative elements of their user interfaces or headsets.

A fascinating avenue for patent protection is the safeguarding of metaverse objects. Similar to how innovations in video game technology, web applications, and graphical user interfaces are currently protected by design patents, objects displayed within the metaverse may be protected. In accordance with 35 U.S.C. 171, for instance, computer-generated icons of physical objects in a virtual environment can be protected as long as they are depicted in an embodiment tying them to an article of manufacture like a computer screen, monitor, other display panel, or any portion thereof. Likewise, the development of things inside a multiverse climate can be safeguarded like the way that variable PC-produced symbols are safeguarded today.

Again, despite the fact that patent applicants may concentrate on the USPTO’s requirements, it is essential to keep in mind that the metaverse is inherently global and that industrial design applications worldwide may have distinct requirements. For instance, industrial designs in Europe do not require a display screen. As a result, the particularities of requesting industrial design protection in various jurisdictions may be taken into account in comprehensive strategies for the design protection of metaverse-related technologies.

A comprehensive strategy for intellectual property protection includes not only patents but also trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property protection in the metaverse, as with any product or business. Intellectual property attorneys may frequently use trademarks and copyrights in conjunction with design and utility patent applications to provide more comprehensive protection of intellectual property assets as they consider the best ways to protect a client’s product. Fashion-related businesses, for instance, may use a combination of trademark and design patent protection to safeguard the innovative designs and brands that have earned them a reputation throughout the metaverse. Programming-based organizations might go to a blend of copyright and utility licenses to safeguard creative usefulness for the metaverse.

Conclusions: The use of utility and design patent applications to safeguard metaverse-related ideas has skyrocketed. One review led by IALE Tecnología viewed that “throughout recent years, metaverse-related patent applications have multiplied to more than 2,000.” It is anticipated that this rapid growth in patents for novel metaverse-related concepts will only continue in the coming years.

Firm and complete techniques including utility licenses, plan licenses, brand names, copyrights, and proprietary advantages are probably going to give the best assurance to pioneers working in the metaverse.

Source – Mintz

Leave a Comment