Monday Miscellany

This week of May brings about some sunshine and a conference opportunity.

Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications

On June 14th-16th the Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia, and online, and it will bring together representatives of national administrations, producers of GI products and GI specialists. More information and register here.

In addition, Anna Maria Stein discusses the new EUIPO Guidelines on Designs for Virtual Environments.

Design and Metaverse: new Guidelines by the EUIPO by Anna Maria Stein

Although there has been a recent focus on trademark protection for NFTs and goods and services related to the Metaverse (see Guidelines published by the EUIPO on June 23, 2022 and the 12th Edition of the Nice Classification including “downloadable digital files authenticated by non-fungible tokens [NFTs]” in Class 9 entered into force March 31, 2023, it is worth noting that registered designs can also provide valuable protection.

On March 02, 2023 the EUIPO has published practise tips for “Designs for virtual environments”:

“1. Where a design for a physical product identifies only the physical product, the design will be classified in the class of the product in the usual way.

2. Where design is for a product for a virtual environment, such as the metaverse, and the applicant indicates it as such, the design will be classified in Class 14-04 of the Locarno Classification with the indication screen displays.

3. Where a design is for a product for both real and virtual environments, and the applicant requests both a physical and virtual product indication, the design will be classified in both classes. This includes the class which corresponds to the physical product and in Class 14-04 as screen display.”

The EUIPO also specifies that “Multiple design applications with more than one class will lead to a class unit deficiency. This means that the multiple application will be divided into single design applications, requiring the payment of additional fees. The applicant will be given the choice between single classification or double classification (see points one and two)”.


The approach by the EUIPO on trade marks in the metaverse has been already discussed by the IPKat here and here together with the decision about protection of the term ‘Metaverse’ here. Now the EUIPO is moving towards design protection. It looks therefore important to consider all available options for protecting intellectual property rights in that emerging area.

The metaverse and the virtual objects that populate it can represent a challenge for the industrial design laws and practices because effective protection requires recognition of virtual objects as articles to which industrial design protection can apply.

Monday Miscellany Monday Miscellany Reviewed by Chiara Gallo on Monday, May 15, 2023 Rating: 5

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