Over the last three years, the number of NFT, crypto, and metaverse trademark filings has skyrocketed.
Web3-related trademark applications appear to have gone from less than 50 trademarks filed in 2020 to a projected 7,500 by the end of this year, 2022.
We asked trademark attorney Michael Kondoudis for an interview to further analyze the Web3 scenario from the angle of trademark filings and how it may evolve in the near future.
Here’s how it turned out!
1) How and when did you first learn about crypto, NFTs, and the metaverse? What made you interested in them?
I learned about the metaverse and the blockchain through patents. In addition to trademarks, I am also a registered patent attorney and I used to write a lot of patent applications for one of the big tech companies. They had an engineering team that focused on leveraging blockchain technology to secure software products and using the metaverse to expand accessibility for persons with disabilities. I wrote many of the company’s patent applications. So, you could say I learned about NFTs and the metaverse on the job.
2) When did you see an increase in crypto, NFT, and metaverse-related trademark filings?
We started to see trademark applications covering NFTs and metaverse (virtual) products and services in 2020 but the number really took off in 2021. In all of 2020, for example, we saw less than 50 trademark applications that mentioned NFTs. In 2021, that number was over 2000 and will likely be around 7500 this year.
3) Based on trademark applications submitted thus far, what do companies appear to prefer among crypto, metaverse, and NFTs?
Smaller companies and individual entrepreneurs seem to file a lot of applications that cover NFTs. Larger companies and well-known brands tend to file trademark applications for metaverse products and services.
We believe that this difference reflects the economics of scale and the realities of the “real world” economy. Larger companies are going to profit from large-scale virtual products and services, like they do in the real world, while small businesses tend to focus on limited editions and bespoke products and services.
Businesses that participate in crypto marketplaces and exchanges, of course, file applications that cover crypto and digital currency.
4) Based on trademark applications submitted so far, is there a specific industry that has been particularly influenced by Web3?
Yes, certain industries/sectors have been influenced by Web3. In our experience, the closer an industry is to a clear path to monetize the metaverse, for example, the more likely they are to file trademark applications to protect their brands for virtual products and services.
We saw a lot of early activity in the footwear, clothing, and fashion accessory sectors because they can foresee selling virtual goods to customize user avatars.
We’ve seen a lot of activity in the fast food/casual dining sector because they can foresee virtual ordering and virtual meetup spaces, which are ripe for advertising.
We’ve also seen significant activity in the sports and entertainment sectors, because it is foreseeable that there will be demand for blockchain-authenticated media.
And, of course, the financial sector has been keen on participating in crypto products and services.
5) How do you see the NFT and metaverse markets growing in the next three to five years?
The future is bright. I look at the metaverse and the next evolutionary step of the Internet. There was a time(not too long ago) when Yahoo! was the world’s most popular website, and most businesses did not have websites.
We are in the same stage with the metaverse.
The metaverse will eventually experience wide adoption and when that happens, businesses will almost have to participate in it. The blockchain will be a necessary tool in the virtual economy of the metaverse.
6) Can you picture yourself offering trademark registration services in the metaverse, or in a virtual setting?
Yes, I can see offering trademarking and other legal services in the metaverse, and I can definitely see promoting/advertising legal services in the metaverse. Consider the effectiveness of a telephone call over an email and then a video call over a telephone call. The opportunity to meet virtually offers the promise of an experience that far exceeds video chats.