Welcome to this week's news roundup. It starts with people still talking about the Metaverse as though it's some kind of riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But why? The answer is really simple. No one knows what's going on, and everybody wants to control it.
Elon Musk's ex-girlfriend Grimes says Mark Zuckerberg is “wildly under-qualified to run the Metaverse”. Her argument is an interesting one. However, the point of the Metaverse is that it is open, collaborative and completely transparent. So why would that require ownership in the first place?
Matthew Ball wants to build a Metaverse for the power of good. That’s nice. He thinks that the Metaverse is a golden opportunity to fix the internet. Oh, wait, are we talking about this again? Ok. There’s more: the discussion that somehow the Metaverse does not exist has reared its ugly head again because apparently, it's some kind of vision of the future of the internet, which is absolute BS when you think about it. This made-up identity problem is in its development with problems of misinformation, privacy and security breaches. Misinformation? That's exactly what all of these stupid articles are doing. Think about it.
There's a new kid on the block, and it's a French web3 platform. It wants to be the Shopify of the Metaverse, so it's raised €3 million in seed funding. That's kind of cool. This French startup is called Metav.rs (interesting use of dots), and it's a new white label solution for brands. It facilitates the creation and sale of NFTs or dematerialised goods such as digital assets and digital twins. It has big ambitions to be the Shopify of the Metaverse, and it's deployed a 3d reconstruction application or builder, which allows easy scanning of physical objects. Metav.rs is targeting major luxury companies and retailers who already have assets across this brave new platform with interesting dots. They’ve worked their bytes off on integration, and they reckon they've already signed some key strategic accounts. Subject to NDAs. Isn't that always the way?
Flowing Cloud Technology Ltd made its debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange at the end of last week. It will become the first Metaverse IPO in Hong Kong. Oh really? Launching on the 29th of September, its fundraising amount was around $100 million. The point of this is that Flowing Cloud is a leading AR/VR software technology company in China, and it ranks first in China's VR and AR service market accounting for 13.5% of the market share, and it’s growing wildly. Not too shabby. The development of tools is critical to building prosperity in this new world of the Metaverse, so simply calling yourself a Metaverse and the first Metaverse IPO in Hong Kong is questionable. Is AR/VR metaversal? Somewhat. But let’s see the goods. Something we immerse ourselves in. We’ll wait.
The legal challenges and opportunities for IP rights holders are high on the list of what's happening in the world of law. The European Union and the United Kingdom are starting to prepare a future for the Metaverse. There is an increasing focus on the legal challenges for trademarks, copyright and patent owners in the world of content generation. This focus on who owns what and how this can be developed and created is debated almost hourly. In the past year alone, there have been a number of trademark applications for virtual goods and services. According to a report from May 2022, the increase in popularity of the Metaverse and Class 9 of the Nice Classification, which includes computer hardware and software, was the second most popular by the end of 2021. From Hermes disputes to art sales, there’s something for every jurisdiction. But there has been a lot of disagreement in legal circles about the possible classification of virtual goods and services. And the EUIPO raised guidance back in June, indicating that virtual goods should be considered as Class 9. The Office also said that NFTs are to be treated as “unique digital certificates registered in a blockchain, which authenticate digital items but are distinct from those digital items. As such, they should also be incorporated into Class 9” however, they must specify what the type of digital item is authenticated by the NFT. This is going to cause quite a lot of headaches, not just for trademark owners or for luxury, but also for the people making the rules.