Well, 2021 not only brought a new mode of working but also brought a new wave of doing business for celebrities and brand owners.
Celebrities right from Paris Hilton to Lebron James embraced this new wave of Metaverse and can be seen exploring business avenues in Metaverse. In China, virtual celebrities are gaining popularity over real ones. The estimated value of the virtual-celebrity market in China is $16bn in 2021.
Few celebrities like Paris Hilton, Popstar Billie Eilish, Dolly Parton, Grandmaster Flash and KISS have even applied for registration of their brands in the virtual goods category at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Celebrities are not only protecting their brands in this new age of Blockchain but can be seen widely promoting NFTs through tweets and videos to their fans across the world who buy their brands.
In December 2021, Paris Hilton hosted a New Year’s Eve Party on Roblox and then launched her NFT collection in collaboration with Super plastic. NFTs i.e., non-fungible tokens are a unique and non-interchangeable data unit saved in blockchain. NFTs in the last year have gained immense popularity amongst celebrities and brand owners. Celebrities can be seen tokenizing everything from merchandise to music to photographs to artwork.
Few notable names are- Indian celebrities are not behind in this race, singing sensation, Daler Mehendi became the first Indian celebrity to buy a piece of land in the virtual metaverse and named it “Balle Balle Land”.
Well, Daler Mehendi is not the only celebrity to buy property in metaverse. Film maker Vasu Bhagnani’s Pooja Entertainment recently bought a virtual land in metaverse named ‘Poojaverse’ to create experiences for viewers in the virtual space. Indian superstar Kamal Hasan became the first Indian actor to have a digital avatar in metaverse. Collaborating with the popular NFT platform of Frantico, the actor planned to have his own digital avatar in the metaverse and auction his movie memorabilia in the form of NFTs.
Megastar, Amitabh Bachchan in November 2021 announced his entry in metaverse by auctioning his father’s iconic poem “Madhushala’ recorded in his own voice in the form of NFTs.
Snoop Dogg in 2021 bought a land in metaverse for building a Snoopverse on The Sandbox, a platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. The land he bought will be used for virtual concerts, art and car exhibits, pool parties and shopping. Snoop Dogg even got a neighbor in December 2021. An NFT collector spent $450,000 for becoming the privileged neighbour of Snoop Dogg’s digital replica of his California mansion.
Paris Hilton, the hotel heiress and actor recently bought a virtual island built within Roblox called “Paris World”, the island has a digital copy of her California mansion and closet which users can raid and buy. Paris Hilton in her interview to Bloomberg said “I think it is important for people to not only be in the physical world but also in the digital world. Paris Hilton became one of the Hollywood celebrities in 2021 filed 3 applications with the USPTO to protect her name in the virtual space in relation to clothes, toys, home goods and fragrances.
Lady Gaga recently released a music pack for Beat Saber, a VR rhythm game set in the metaverse. Wearing VR glasses users can ‘slash’ beats that come flying towards them. Popular music bands like Green Day and Imagine Dragons have also released tunes for the popular game.
Popular American movie star, Lindsay Lohan in February 2021 reportedly sold single “Lullaby” as an NFT for $50,000. The Rap God, Eminem launched his first set of NFTs on Nifty Gateway in 2021 and raised $1.8 million. Among the items sold on this platform included digital action figures, characters from Eminem’s videos and original instrumental tracks.
Buying virtual real estate is not restricted to movie stars but also has tennis stars like Stanislas Wawrinka joining the race. The Swiss tennis star bought a private island in sale by leading metaverse and NFT marketplace ‘Exclusible’ on the Sandbox platform.
NBA star Lebron James has recently joined the race by filing two trademarks for use of footwear to basketball courts in the virtual space. King James is all set to rule in the metaverse.
Football legend, David Beckham in April 2022 announced his entry in metaverse by filing several applications for metaverse and NFT related trademarks with the USPTO. David Beckham plans to have virtual clothing, footwear, headgear as well as virtual performances and entertainment events.
The late NBA megastar, Kobe Bryant’s estate also filed three trademark applications for virtual goods to protect his name in metaverse.
By entering metaverse, celebrities have realized the importance of protecting their brand/trademark in the virtual world and are therefore taking steps towards protecting it by registering it with the Trademark Offices.
Music sensation, Rihanna recently filed trademarks to make her smash hit makeup line, Fenty Beauty, available for purchase in the metaverse.
It has become critical for celebrities and other brand owners to embrace this new technology and understanding the importance of protecting their brands in this virtual world.
With the skyrocketing trademark applications, the world also witnessed the high-profile lawsuit of trademark infringement in metaverse, the famous Birkin handbag lawsuit.
As we are stepping into a new world of virtual goods the time for upgrading the trademark law has come. We need to think whether the time for a metaverse compatible classification of goods and services has come or not and also whether we need to explore new mechanisms in trademarks for the challenges posed by metaverse.
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