IP and the Metaverse

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Earlier this year, the Intellectual Property Office released a research report on Intellectual Property (IP) in the Metaverse. The report highlights the opportunity to address ongoing or unresolved IP issues stemming from the digital age, spurred by increased IP demand in new markets. However, it also underscores the challenges, notably the rise in IP infringements and the complexity of enforcing IP rights in a decentralised digital environment.


To meet these challenges, the report suggests enhancing the relevance of IP in the Metaverse by protecting the rights of IP holders and safeguarding the freedoms of all digital citizens. It proposes restructuring IP law to not only preserve exclusive rights but also to bolster consumer protection and overall user welfare.


The key areas identified for attention are:

Copyright in the Metaverse: Adapting UK copyright laws to the Metaverse's new creative forms, enhancing the flexibility of limitations and exceptions, and clarifying the enforcement and adaptation of existing licenses.

Trade Mark Issues: Updating guidance on handling trade marks for physical goods in the Metaverse, assessing new classifications, and resolving jurisdictional and conflict issues.

Patent Challenges: Encouraging innovation through patent licensing pools and open-source models to lower entry barriers for new entities.

Design Rights: Clarifying the extension of design rights to digital designs, their registration processes, and whether Metaverse use constitutes public disclosure.

User-Generated Content: Enhancing certainty for Metaverse users and content providers about using copyrighted and trademarked materials, possibly by expanding current limitations and offering more flexible licensing agreements.

Virtual Property & NFTs: Considering the grant of rights similar to personal property in virtual assets and clarifying the legal implications of NFTs and their underlying IP rights.

Platform Liability: Developing IP strategies for the potentially less centralised Metaverse, suitable for both decentralised and hybrid models.


The full report, offering a comprehensive analysis and recommendations, is available here:

IP and Metaverses: An Externally Commissioned Research Report

Written by Lauren Mills for ip21 Ltd