Gartner predicts that one in four people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse by 2026, so it makes sense for brands to become part of the metaverse. Navigating the evolving metaverse landscape is becoming increasingly important for law firms and in-house legal departments, as more brands roll out new digital strategies.

A number of brands have filed trademarks protecting them in the metaverse. Hermès, CVS, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Mastercard are among the companies that have trademarked their name, logo, virtual goods, and digital assets in the metaverse. Rolex has filed trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office covering “online auction services for virtual objects” and “online spaces for buyers and sellers of virtual products such as watches and watch parts.”

Beyond patenting, Gareth Burkhill-Howarth, global data protection officer at WPP, has extra tips to share with Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. These include utilizing the technology that comes with the metaverse, such as “smart contracts” for transactions, ownership, and access in virtual worlds; observing what other brands are doing by learning from their wins and fails; and not forgetting about existing brand safety measures. “The metaverse may seem like a completely new space, but learnings from Web 2.0 and the real world should still be applied,” says Burkhill-Howarth.

Burkhill-Howarth believes the metaverse is here to stay. “But don’t necessarily expect engagement to be how it is now,” he says. The metaverse will be largely defined by users, who will be shaping experiences for virtual worlds, digital assets, and ownership. Tracking behaviors in the metaverse will be critical for brands to future-proof their strategies as this digital space evolves.

The Intelligence take:

It’s time for brands to become metaverse-ready, or risk falling behind. “I would recommend that brands bring together their legal, treasury, finance, compliance, and cyber-security teams with their brand and marketing teams to ensure that they understand the opportunity, risks, and challenges and are ready to execute their metaverse activities,” says Burkhill-Howarth. “Don’t end up playing catch-up.”

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