Metaverse Trademark Filings in China: Protecting Brands While the Law Catches Up
As the concept of a unified “metaverse” is gaining traction, savvy brand owners are shifting their focus to securing rights in this emerging sector. In pursuit of intellectual property (IP) rights, individuals and corporations are turning to metaverse trademark filings to provide protection for goods and services in the virtual world. As of the summer of 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has received more than 16,000 applications that either contain the word “METAVERSE” (in English or its Chinese translation: “YUAN YUZHOU,” or both) or that include descriptions of goods and services in the virtual world, or both. These applications were filed by individuals as well as companies (big and small, both foreign and domestic). The rejection rate for traditional trademark applications in China is typically high, around 60-70%, at least in the first instance. However, the rejection rate for these new metaverse applications is even higher, hovering around 80%.