Filings in 2022 indicate that one thing about the metaverse is that it will be well fed and well dressed. Companies with a combined market cap of around $1.1 trillion have filed for trademarks related to metaverse and NFTs this year alone. If you include Meta in this discussion, the figure rises to almost $2 trillion. In addition, 1967 NFT-related applications have been filed in 2022 alone. This is already higher than the total for the whole of 2021. However, as we are well aware of Meta’s plans due to their rebrand, so lets focus on the lesser-known metaverse players. Brands such as Ralph Lauren, Chevron, McDonald’s, Monster, Colgate, WWE, Levis, Playboy, and many more are gearing up to enter the metaverse and protect their intellectual property.
For some, registering trademarks in a new space will be a simple legal exercise to ensure their corporate image is protected. However, it is clear from the filings that this is not just about brand protection. Here’s a breakdown courtesy of trademark lawyer Mike Kondoudis. You can read the specifics of the trademarks by searching for the serial numbers at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
McDonald’s is coming to the metaverse. We first reported on this back in February. McDonald’s filed to use the names McDonald’s, McCafe, and the famous golden arches with a virtual world. They also plan to offer actual and virtual goods through their virtual restaurants. Therefore, it seems that you will be able to walk into a McDonald’s in the metaverse, order a BigMac and have it sent to your door in the real world.
In February, the international lingerie, clothing, and beauty brand, Victoria’s Secret, filed for several trademarks, including downloadable virtual goods, digital collectibles, virtual fashion shows, and online clothing, including undergarments. This one feels very NSFW, in all honesty, but what’s interesting is that they see an opportunity and a need to ready themselves for a deeper move into the digital world. Post-2020, it is easy to understand the potential market for virtual fashion shows. However, virtual underwear is something metaverse developers themselves may not have considered quite yet.
This is the biggest company outside of Meta to be readying themselves for the metaverse. They have a market cap of over $300 billion and filed for trademarks directly related to NFTs this year. Their application covers NFTs, virtual gas, virtual stores, and virtual renewable energy products. Virtual gas will likely be a tool to run v vehicles in the metaverse. However, I hope brands cannot get a consensus from blockchain validators to add sponsorship to gas transactions fees. Can you imagine every Ethereum transaction forcing a Chevron advert to your wallet?
The drinks and beverages brand has often looked to be at the forefront of trends. So their move into the metaverse is less surprising than most. Like McDonald’s, they are looking to use their brand to offer NFTs, downloadable virtual food, drinks, and clothing and create a marketplace for virtual goods. With Death Stranding, Monster Energy has already found its way into the gaming world. In the game, Monster is the only source of boosting stamina in the main character’s private room. Perhaps we can now expect similar deals with metaverse projects.
Other notable brands
There seems to be a clear trend within the current trademark applications. Food and beverage brands are all filing to protect their ability to offer virtual restaurants and virtual food. In-game food often relates to health bonuses or regeneration. The ability to be a recognized option for a player to regain their health should offer immense brand awareness among popular games. Dunkin, KFC, Pizza Hut, Hooters, Sonic, Red Bull, Burger King, and Arby’s are all restaurants we can expect to see in what is increasingly likely to be a Ready Player One-style metaverse of the future.
Another apparent trend is concerning clothing. We are well aware that in-game skins and cosmetics have an incredibly high demand. The market size for skins alone is estimated to be around $40 billion. As metaverse projects look to build on traditional second-life-style gaming experiences, brands are preparing to offer their designs to the virtual world. Levi’s, Wrangler, Playboy, Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, and Vans have all filed trademarks related to NFTs for virtual goods related to their brands.
From what we have been hearing talking to metaverse and NFT projects such as Gensokishi and Charged Particles, the next wave of the digital revolution will be in the partnerships created between projects. NFTs are now being minted to make their way into metaverse projects eventually. Further, metaverse projects are building their ecosystem in such a way as to allow third part NFT collections to join their world. Collaboration and fluidity will be crucial aspects of successful virtual asset projects over the coming years.