With the development of technologies such as blockchain, XR (AR, VR, etc.), quantum technology, communication technology, AI, etc., the foundation for economic activities in virtual space will gradually begin to be established, and business in virtual space is expected to expand.

Virtual space has the potential to become a new market that provides unprecedented value, and a place where a wide variety of transactions and economic activities take place. It is also expected that new forms of transaction will be created, such as virtual goods (digital objects) and services that have value only in virtual space, and transactions that can be completed without going through the real world. Changes in lifestyles are also expected, such as an increase in the proportion of time spent immersed in virtual spaces. In this way, we are about to enter an era that humanity has never experienced before.
On the other hand, it is necessary to deal with unknown issues such as platform standardization and compatibility, business relationships in virtual space, and problems arising from intersections with the real world. As the legal framework in the field of intellectual property is not well developed, it is thought that consultation with experts will be needed more than ever.

We provide support from the aspect of intellectual property to those involved in business in virtual space. As an intellectual property strategy partner in the virtual space, our group of intellectual property experts will think together with our customers, understand their problems, and propose solutions.

 

Intellectual property services related to virtual space

① Consultation regarding trademarks, designated products, etc. used inside and outside the virtual space
② Consultation regarding digital brands, copyrights, product display, digital objects, NFTs, etc.
③Consultation metaverse image regarding terms of use, data contracts, etc.
④Consultation regarding technology and inventions
⑤Various applications, preparing expert opinions/opinions, etc.
⑥Other various consultations

 

Example of inquiry

Trademark related

I would like to apply for a trademark for real goods and digital objects.
I would like to display and sell digital objects in a store in a virtual space, but under what category should I obtain trademark rights?
The designated product is "clothing," but can someone else infringe on it in a virtual space?
What should we be careful about from the perspective of trademark law when attaching trademarks to stores, signboards, cars, etc. in virtual space?
What are the benefits of registering a trademark for the appearance and name of an avatar that you plan to use in your business activities?
If an individual is using our house mark in a virtual space, is it possible to stop the use?

Copyright related

Is it okay to represent buildings in the real world in virtual space?
Are photographs taken in virtual space subject to copyright?
Are there any copyright issues when singing in a virtual space?
Is there anything I can do to deal with the situation where someone else is using the exterior of my store in the virtual world?
Is there anything I can do if someone else digitizes and sells our products?
What should we be careful about from the perspective of copyright law when recreating cities, signboards, etc. in virtual space?
What kind of copyright belongs to our company when our employees digitize avatars designed by a contractor?
If an avatar with a similar appearance to an avatar created by our company is on the market, does this constitute copyright infringement?
What rights should I consider when transferring NFTs?
Do images displayed on a head-mounted display or smartphone screen constitute copyright infringement?
There are no restrictions on the terms of use, but is it necessary to obtain permission from the copyright holder in order to issue NFTs?
I own an NFT, but I heard that copyright is separate, so I would like to know how it is handled.

Others (Unfair Competition Prevention Act, designs, contracts, etc.)

If a digital object with a trademark is sold in a virtual space, could this be considered an act of unfair competition?
If a trademark is attached to a store, signboard, car, etc. in a virtual space, what should we be careful about from the perspective of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act?
What kind of contract is required with whom to use avatars used by third parties?
I have concluded a sales contract for product X with company A in the real world, but is it okay to sell the digitalized product X in the virtual space?
Aren't digital clothing worn by avatars protected under the Design Act?
Can character images for avatars be protected by design rights?
Is it possible to protect the images displayed on a head-mounted display or the operation screen displayed in virtual space with a design?
If a digital object is stolen from a store in a virtual space, can it be returned?
I would like to know the important points regarding the terms of use of the platform I am using.
What should I keep in mind when licensing NFT digital content?
Marketplace A allows NFT holders to commercialize NFT digital content, but I would like to commercialize it even in marketplaces that do not specify commercialization.
Can virtual images expressed through VR goggles be protected by design?

 

 

Information

Japan Patent Office (Industrial Structure Council, Intellectual Property Subcommittee) considers protection of image designs in virtual space (September 2023, 9)
China releases three-year action plan for metaverse industry (September 2023, 9)
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications releases report on “Study Group on the Utilization of Metaverse, etc. for the Web3 Era” (July 2023, 7)
European Commission publishes “Strategy to lead on Web 4.0 and virtual worlds” (July 2023, 7)
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Information and Communications White Paper Reiwa 2022th Edition predicts that Japan's Metaverse market size will be 1825 billion yen in 2023 (estimated) and 3255 billion yen in 2023 (July 7)
A bill to partially amend the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, etc. was approved and enacted (June 2023, 6)
China launches Metaverse industrial patent pool at 2023 Zhongguancun Forum (May 2023)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters releases “Summary of issues regarding new legal issues surrounding content on the Metaverse” (May 2023, 5)
G7 Hiroshima Summit recognizes the potential of immersive technologies and virtual spaces such as the Metaverse, and confirms that governance of the digital economy should continue to be updated in line with democratic values ​​(May 2023, 5)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Public-Private Partnership Meeting (3rd Meeting) on ​​Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (May 2023, 5)
Liberal Democratic Party Digital Society Promotion Headquarters web3PT releases “web3 White Paper” (April 2023, 4)
UK Intellectual Property Office publishes guidance on “Classification of NFTs, Virtual Goods and Services Provided in the Metaverse” (April 2023, 4)
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry releases “Fashion Law Guidebook 2023” including digital fashion (April 2023)
Turkish Patent and Trademark Office recognizes similarity between virtual goods and services related to clothing, etc. and real goods and services (March 2023)
EUIPO implements examination guidelines (2023 edition) (March 2023, 3)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Public-Private Partnership Meeting (2nd Meeting) on ​​Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (March 2023, 3)
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications releases the interim report of the "Study Group on Utilization of Metaverse, etc. for the Web3 Era" (February 2023, 2)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Second Subcommittee (2nd meeting) of the Public-Private Partnership Conference on Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (February 2023, 2)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Public-Private Partnership Meeting First Subcommittee (2nd Meeting) on ​​Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (February 2023, 2)
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications releases the interim report of the "Study Group on Utilization of Metaverse, etc. for the Web3 Era" (February 2023, 2)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Third Subcommittee (2nd meeting) of the Public-Private Partnership Conference on Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (January 2023, 1)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Second Subcommittee (1nd meeting) of the Public-Private Partnership Conference on Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (February 2023, 1)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Public-Private Partnership Meeting First Subcommittee (1nd Meeting) on ​​Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (February 2023, 1)
In the United States, the INFORMA Consumers Act, a law related to marketplace regulation, was enacted (December 2022, 12).
Digital Agency releases “Web 3.0 Study Group Report” (December 2022, 12).
JASRAC announces music usage fees on Metaverse (December 2022, 12).
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Third Subcommittee (1nd meeting) of the Public-Private Partnership Conference on Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (January 2022, 12)
"Environmental improvement for Web 5" was mentioned as one of the specific initiatives in the 3.0-year startup development plan (Japanese government) (November 2022, 11)
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications publishes a special article on virtual space in the academic journal "Information and Communication Policy Research" Volume 6, No. 1 (December 2022, 12)
The Unfair Competition Prevention Committee (Industrial Structure Council, Intellectual Property Subcommittee) proposes legal revisions based on the Metaverse in the "Draft of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in light of business diversification due to digitalization" (December 2022, 12).
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters holds “Public-Private Partnership Meeting (2022st Meeting) on ​​Addressing New Legal Issues Related to Content on the Metaverse” (November 11, 21)
Japan Digital Space Economy Federation releases “Report on economic development of digital space” (November 2022, 11)
China's Guangdong Provincial Internet Association formulates compliance operational guidelines for issuance of NFT digital collections (October 2022)
China releases “NFT Rules Evaluation Criteria” at Metaverse Digital Economy Forum (September 2022)
China Communications Industry Association Blockchain Specialty Committee releases “Digital Collection Common Standards 1.0” (September 2022)
Japan Patent Office, special feature on the Metaverse in the official magazine "Tokyo" Vol. 53 (August 2022)
Korean Intellectual Property Office implements examination and processing guidelines for virtual goods related to trademarks (July 2022)
At the 4th meeting of the Japan Patent Office Policy Promotion Council, ``protection of design rights for image data converted into NFT'' was discussed, and in ``Summary of the ideal form of the intellectual property system to promote the utilization of intellectual property,'' It is necessary to discuss the nature of protection (June 2022, 6, June 3, 30)
Taiwan Intellectual Property Office publishes opinion on metaverse and designs (June 2022)
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) publishes guidance on virtual goods and NFTs (June 2022)
Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters announces "Intellectual Property Promotion Plan 2022". “Content strategy for the digital age” was cited as one of the key measures (June 2022, 6)
The Unfair Competition Prevention Subcommittee (Industrial Structure Council, Intellectual Property Subcommittee) continues to discuss the protection of forms of product imitation in virtual space at the "Interim Summary Report on Future Issues of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in a Digital Society" (2022) May)
Liberal Democratic Party Digital Society Promotion Headquarters announces “Digital Japan 2022 ~Challenge to a new digital capitalism~” (April 2022, 4)
Establishment of Japan Digital Spatial Economy Federation (general incorporated association) (April 2022, 4)
Crypto Asset Business Association (General Incorporated Association) Revises “Guidelines for NFT Business” (March 2022, 3)
Liberal Democratic Party Digital Society Promotion Headquarters NFT Policy Review PT releases "NFT White Paper (Draft): Japan's NFT Strategy with an Eye on the Web 3.0 Era" (March 2022, 3)
Crypto Asset Business Association, General Incorporated Association, publishes “Guidelines for NFT Business” (April 2021, 4)


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