IP everywhere: the great challenge of the metaverse


Sophie Goossens

IP everywhere: the great challenge of the metaverse

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The metaverse could challenge some of the most fundamental concepts underpinning IP. Sophie Goossens of Reed Smith explains what it is and what it means for intangible assets.

Derived from the prefix “meta” (meaning “beyond” or “after” in Greek) and the stem “verse” (meaning the universe), the metaverse is being called the Internet 3.0 and it promises to increase permeability and interoperability between different digital environments, video games, and the real world.

At its core, the metaverse is code: ones and zeros overlaid with unfathomably vast amounts of data. A feature of these data is that they will be created and distributed from within the metaverse—in other words, from within a proprietary environment that has been created and envisioned by a person or a group of persons, and is controlled by a particular entity (such as a game developer).

The metaverse, unlike the real world, will be entirely manufactured. There isn’t a digital cloud or tree in the metaverse which hasn’t been designed by a creator, and then coded by an engineer, using software. From the clothes we wear and the car we drive in the metaverse, everything will be made of someone else’s IP.

Reed Smith, metaverse, intangible assets, Internet 3.0, IP rights, copyright, NFTs, AI, machine learning, fair use, software