NetEase was cut off, the bytes were not mixed up, “Metaverse” started a trademark battle?

The meta universe has not seen it, and the opportunists have already begun a carnival.

From the rapper’s virtual concert in the chicken-eating game “Fortress Night” to Nike ’s establishment of the “Nike Paradise” on Roblox; from “Xiao Zha” renamed Facebook to Meta, to the launch of NVIDIA’s virtual space collaboration platform Omniverse, ” As a new term in the Internet technology industry, “metaverse” has succeeded in getting out of the circle.

Meta universe-This concept was put forward by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson 30 years ago. It neither refers to an industry nor a specific product, but is parallel to the real world and independent Virtual space in the real world.

The vast majority of technology companies have the opportunity to go here and construct a huge meta-universe world as a subset. Benefiting from the promotion of capital, technology iterations such as VR/AR wearable devices, CPU/GPU hardware, 5G/AI/NFT/digital twins, and the disappearance of the dividends of the mobile Internet, Metaverse has been given the mission of “next generation Internet”.

Although Metaverse lacks a general definition, and the underlying technological innovation and infrastructure construction have not yet broken through, but in the capital market, as long as there is a company with Metaverse, its value can skyrocket.

The product has not moved, the trademark is first. According to the data from Tianyan Check , as of November 17, the number of applications for “Yuan Universe” related trademarks exceeded 4,400. Internet companies such as Tencent and Alibaba have applied for trademarks such as “QQ Yuan Universe” and “Ali Yuan Universe”, and new car manufacturers such as Xiaopeng and Weilai have also applied for registration of “Xiaopeng Yuan Universe” and “Weilai Yuan Universe”. trademark. Taken together, the number of Internet technology companies accounted for more than half of the total number of applications for Metaverse-related trademarks.

And because of the investment code Qiankun and the acquisition of VR equipment head-display company Pico, ByteDance , which has attracted much attention , has taken the initiative to disassociate itself from Metaverse, indicating that the business layout has nothing to do with the concept of Metaverse. However, Pico still submitted an application for registration of the “Pico元宇宙” trademark. In this regard, Zhu Junru, vice president of Bytedance Products and Strategy, said that the registration of related trademarks is mainly to prevent the Pico brand from being preemptively registered for the hype of the concept of “Meta Universe”, which is a protective registration.

On November 16, Ding Lei , the founder of NetEase , stated on the earnings call that Metaverse is a very popular concept, but no one has been exposed to Metaverse. Netease has made preparations for the related technologies and plans of Meta Universe, and has applied for registration of trademarks such as “NetEase Meta Universe”, “Leihuo Yuan Universe”, and “Fuxi Yuan Universe”. It is worth mentioning that “NetEase Yunyuan Universe” was first applied for by a technology company in Qingdao, and was internationally classified as a scientific instrument. At present, the status of this trademark is awaiting substantive examination.

In the PC Internet era, many companies have paid a high price for competing for domain names. Such as domain name holders by the telecom operator Vodafone’s “360.com”, 360 with its years of negotiations, rumors of the purchase price was $ 17 million, or about 110 million yuan; Jingdong original domain name 360buy.com due to lack of recognition, to get in After investing, he also spent tens of millions to buy jd.com. There are many incidents of this kind. Pre-registering and buying out domain names was once regarded as an investment behavior. And will similar craziness be staged in the meta-universe trademark competition?

Is the trademark war coming?

Trademarks, domain names, logos, seemingly simple logos, are powerful business cards for companies.

In China, 360 is Qihoo. Many people access Qihoo by entering 360.com in the URL bar, but this was not accessible before 2015. At that time, the ownership of “360.com” belonged to the international mobile phone operator Vodafone. It is rumored that Qihoo Group bought the domain name from Vodafone for US$17 million (about 170 million yuan). The domain name transaction at the time was a sky-high price.

Similarly, JD.com has not escaped the fate of buying domain names at high prices, which has spent 30 million dollars on the acquisition of jd.com. Many people may lament that “jd.com is too valuable”, but people in the industry have calculated such an account at that time. Jingdong’s acquisition of jd.com is expected to help Jingdong save more than 100 million yuan in traffic promotion expenses.

These two iconic incidents have allowed many people to see the business opportunities of cybersquatting. Nowadays, many companies are applying for trademarks related to the meta universe around the concept of meta universe in full swing. According to the data from Tianyan Check, as of November 17, the number of “Meta Universe” related trademark applications exceeded 4,400, of which more than 3,000 are currently in the status of “waiting for substantive examination.” It is still unknown how many speculators want to share a cup of stalks in the form of trademark transfer among the more than 3,000 articles.

NetEase was cut off, the bytes were not mixed up, "Metaverse" started a trademark battle?

Tianyan Check on the number of Meta Universe-related trademark applications since 2021

However, in the process of NetEase’s application for the registration of trademarks such as “NetEase Yuan Universe” and “Lei Huo Yuan Universe”, the trademark “NetEase Yun Yuan Universe” containing the words “NetEase Cloud” was applied for registration by a technology company in Qingdao and was internationally classified as a scientific instrument. The current status of the trademark is awaiting substantive examination.

A trademark agency stated to DoNews (ID: ilovedonews) that it can fill in the application for registered trademarks on the official website of the State Intellectual Property Office, or fill out the application through the trademark agency in accordance with the service system requirements of the trademark website. Among them, the “substantive examination” mentioned above is mainly examined from two major directions: absolute reasons and relative reasons.

Absolute reasons include the examination of the absolute legality and distinctiveness of the trademark; the relative reasons are to examine whether the constituent elements of the trademark violate the prohibition clauses and distinctiveness of the trademark law, and whether the trademark conflicts with the rights of other people’s prior applications and registered trademarks. If some problems are found in the trademark at this stage, the registration application will be rejected.

NetEase was cut off, the bytes were not mixed up, "Metaverse" started a trademark battle?

Trademark registration flow chart | Source: Official website of the State Intellectual Property Office

A trademark is a symbol of a corporate brand. In order to prevent long-term use of words or brands from infringing on the rights of others, they often apply for trademark registration in advance to reduce unnecessary losses. The trademark agency said that the cost of trademark registration is actually not high. The cost of registration is only 300 yuan. If you choose an agency, you need to add a service fee of 300 yuan in addition to the cost. At the same time, it is recommended that you can Multi-category protection of the same name is adopted, that is, multiple categories can share a trademark. Among them, the categories are divided into 45 categories, with 1-34 being product categories and 35-45 being service categories. After the trademark is successfully registered, the applicant will have the trademark rights for ten years, and the renewal can be renewed after ten years.

Faced with all kinds of brand names, there are many that are the same or similar. The agency reminds that the entire registration process takes about 8-12 months. Before registration, you must first check whether there is the same or similar trademark name. If you want to circumvent it, you should also understand the main items. If the preliminary search is not rigorous , May lead to trademark rejection or prolonged review time. Of course, if you want to use the trademark quickly or find the trademark you want, you can transfer or authorize it through negotiation between the two parties.

So, can the “Netease Yunyuan Universe” trademark be applied for in accordance with the normal process? In the substantive examination or the public stage are full of uncertain factors. If the trademark is successfully registered, NetEase wants to use the trademark only through negotiation between the two parties for transfer or authorization.

Li Junhui, a special researcher of the Intellectual Property Research Center of China University of Political Science and Law, told DoNews that the “Trademark Law” stipulates that “not for the purpose of use”, “infringement of the prior rights of others” and “may cause adverse effects” and many other situations may be suspected of constituting malicious snatching. Note the trademark. Suspected of damaging the legitimate rights and interests of others may even cause confusion in public perception, and may not be approved for registration due to damage to the prior rights of others or adverse effects. The “NetEase Yuan Universe” trademark contains the words “NetEase”, which makes it easy for the public to think that it is related to NetEase. If it is not applied for by NetEase, it may not be approved for registration.

In Li Junhui’s view, some people regard malicious cybersquatting as a way to promote their business or company in disguise. In addition, there are chances that, once the application is successful, you can reach with half the power fold effect. “Because there are too many well-known figures in all walks of life , in the process of trademark review, it is not ruled out that accidental approval and registration are not ruled out. Then, such trademarks will definitely attract more attention in certain fields, and even make people mistakenly believe that these trademarks are related to well-known personalities. Great relationship, such as the Jordan trademark in the field of sports shoes that has received much attention before.” And this is precisely the value of the trademark, that is, to distinguish the source of goods or services.

In order to prevent the Pico brand from being preemptively registered for the hype of the concept of “Meta Universe”, Pico, the VR headset company acquired by ByteDance, applied for the registration of the “Pico Meta Universe” trademark.

Meta universe is a marathon

The registration of the “Meta Universe” trademark does not mean that the clarion call to enter the Meta Universe has been sounded, but it also reveals the company’s enthusiasm for technology.

Take NetEase and ByteDance as examples, they have completely different attitudes towards the “meta universe”. Netease, which has always been more active than the Buddhist system, is more active towards the meta universe. Ding Lei said that NetEase is ready for Metaverse’s technology and planning. “When the time is right, it may run faster than anyone else.”

On the contrary, Bytedance is more rational. Zhu Jun, vice president of product and strategy, said: “We have always been cautious about particularly grand and very abstract concepts. Internally, teams are also required to avoid using such concepts and maintain a down-to-earth style to carry out specific work. “

So, who gave NetEase the confidence to lead the meta-universe in the future?

Games, VR, social networking, AI, etc. are considered by the industry to be the main track of the current meta-universe. Games are the virtualization of the physical world and the fastest way to enter the meta-universe. At the same time, the most widely used scene of VR in consumer-level applications is multiplayer online virtual reality games. NetEase’s Q3 financial report this year shows that its gaming business has achieved fruitful results in its diversification strategy. Net income from online gaming services reached 15.9 billion yuan, an increase of 15% year-on-year.

NetEase was cut off, the bytes were not mixed up, "Metaverse" started a trademark battle?

“Harry Potter: Awakening of Magic” game screenshots

In the field of VR technology, NetEase has successively invested in 9 companies including NextVR, a VR streaming company, AxonVR, a VR equipment manufacturer, and Genies, a avatar and artificial intelligence modeling company. There have been 5 investments in virtual people , including the next-generation culture of the “virtual human” ecological company that created the virtual image of Di Ali Gerba, the virtual image technology company Genies, the virtual social platform Imvu, and the creation of virtual The American live broadcast company Maestro of the interactive concert, and Beijing Hongmian Xiaoice Technology Co., Ltd., the parent company of ” Microsoft Xiaoice”.

From games to VR and AI, NetEase has covered the entire core technology of virtual reality. From this point of view, NetEase is clearly standing in the forefront of the “meta universe”.

ByteDance chose a conservative route. Although the concept of “meta universe” has not been used for hype, it has adopted the acquisition and self-developed “All In” strategy in technology and planning to supplement the “social” gene. Up to now, headlines today, vibrato, watermelon video , TikTok, Faceu shock Meng Fei books , drawing insects and other products matrix global coverage over 150 countries and territories, monthly living billions of users.

On November 2, Liang Rubo, CEO of ByteDance, issued an internal letter announcing organizational adjustments and the establishment of 6 business sectors: Douyin, DaDa Education, Feishu, Volcano, Chaoxi Guangnian, and TikTok. Among them, today’s Toutiao, Watermelon Video, Toutiao Encyclopedia, Toutiao Search, and domestic vertical service businesses are grouped under the “Tik Tok” business line. Although this kind of Matthew benefit of centralizing advantageous resources is unexpected, calm down and think about it. You can see that this move can not only increase traffic, further strengthen the daily activity and duration of Douyin, and enrich more application scenarios. , Can also expand the coincidence of Toutiao itself with the higher traffic volume of Douyin.

Of course, in an environment where traffic is about to reach its peak, byte bounce only relies on the advantages of algorithms, and it is difficult to guarantee the steady growth of existing services. Therefore, ByteDance breaks business barriers and finds new technologies that can replace the core technology. Through the acquisition of domestic VR manufacturer Pico to make up for the shortcomings of the hardware, invest in the code Qiankun of the physics engine developer that is very similar to Roblox.

Netease’s sharpening of the sword and the Byte Beat’s concealing their powers and bidding their time, who will be the “darling” of the meta universe?

Let the “bullet” of the meta universe fly for a while

The hot registration of the Meta Universe trademark proves that its concept is becoming popular, but it also reflects that the speculative atmosphere is becoming more and more intense.

What is the meta universe? Disassemble the literal, Meta (transcendence) + verse (universe), that is, another universe beyond the real universe. In fact, the term meta universe first appeared in 1992 in the science fiction novel “Snow Crash” by American writer Neil Stephenson: People in the real world have a virtual world in a virtual digital world parallel to the real world. Clone, people realize their will by controlling this virtual clone. Like the screens conceived by “The Matrix” and “Ready Player One”.

NetEase was cut off, the bytes were not mixed up, "Metaverse" started a trademark battle?

The movie “Ready Player One”

But so far, there is still no recognized authoritative definition of the meta universe, and people have different understandings of it. It can be denied that the meta universe is indeed full of diversification, bringing new business models.

In March this year, the first stock of Meta Universe “Roblox” landed on the New York Stock Exchange, and closed up 54.4% on the first day; on October 28, Facebook changed its name to “Meta”. Meta founder Zuckerberg said that Meta Universe will be next A frontier, in the future will be the priority of Meta Universe instead of Facebook; on November 18, the Zhangjiajie Meta Universe Research Center was officially listed at the Big Data Center in Wulingyuan District; Nike submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the end of October Applications for 7 iconic trademarks, including “NIKE”, “Just Do It”, etc., are used for downloadable virtual items, including sports shoes, clothes, headwear, sports backpacks and other products with computer programming features. In addition, As early as September, there was a whirlwind in the A-share market, and the meta-universe concept stocks rose sharply.

NetEase was cut off, the bytes were not mixed up, "Metaverse" started a trademark battle?

Meta Universe conceived by Meta Connect|Video screenshot

Those who enter the game are nothing more than optimistic about the business future of Metaverse. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the market size of Meta Universe will reach US$1.5 trillion in 2030. But the meta-universe is still a new thing that has not yet formed, and the distance to realize the real meta-universe is long and difficult.

After more than half a year of fermentation, controversy over the meta universe has already existed. 360 Chairman Zhou Hongyi believes that if everyone in the future society only interacts in the virtual world, and the younger generation indulges in the virtual society every day, it may not bring real development to human society. “Human beings have to solve the problem of nuclear fusion, for example, to solve the freedom of energy, and to solve the problem of cosmic navigation to get out of the earth.” This view coincides with Liu Cixin. He also believes that the meta universe is extremely tempting and highly attractive. The fantasy “spiritual opium”, worrying that human beings are immersed in the virtual world and stand still.

Lu Feng, deputy director of the Institute of Electronic Information of the CCID Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told DoNews that technology is neutral, and the pros and cons of the application of meta-universe technology depend on specific application areas. In addition, the People’s Daily also commented: “Even if the meta-universe may become an extension and expansion of the real world, the potential opportunities and possible changes are worth looking forward to. Everyone still needs to look at the current meta-universe craze rationally and be wary of any Flicker in the name of technology and the future.”

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