The metaverse is no longer a passing fad. These days, it seems like every brand is making – or preparing to make – the leap into the realm of virtual goods.
Metaverse refers to a virtual realm where users can create avatars and interact with each other. As this digital realm takes off, brands are leaning into the virtual goods market. In some cases, these goods take the form of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which translate concepts such as supply and demand and ownership into the virtual realm.
Over the past few months, several brands have announced forays into the metaverse, whether through virtual games, merchandise, or NFTs. Just today, StockX announced that it was selling its own sneaker NFTs on its marketplace. Through this experience, dubbed Vault NFT, users can invest in NFTs tied to physical sneaker counterparts.
Other brands like Diesel, Perry Ellis-owned Original Penguin, and Gap have all launched NFTs in recent months. Other companies have indicated their intention to take similar steps in trademark filings that would cover their brands in a virtual space.
“The existing registrations they have on these marks don’t cover virtual goods because virtual goods didn’t exist five or 10 years ago,” said trademark attorney Josh Gerben of the law firm Gerben. explaining why so many brands file trademarks for products and phrases in the virtual world. “No one really thought you might need protection on something like this.”
From Nike to Forever 21, these are the brands that have made the leap into the metaverse – and the ones that could be next.
In December, Adidas Originals released its first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) collection called “Into the Metaverse”. Owners of the NFTs received exclusive access to Adidas Originals experiences and merchandise, including virtual apparel for The Sandbox blockchain-based gaming world and other platforms, and an exclusive physical product to match.
Authentic brand group
GBS owns and manages Shaquille O’Neal branded merchandise and also owns brands like Forever 21, Barneys New York and JCPenney. The company filed a series of trademarks for some of these brands last month, indicating potential for virtual goods in the future.
O’Neal, in partnership with Authentic Brands Group, filed three trademark applications for the word “SHAQ”, in December. According to the filings, these trademarks apply to items such as “virtual non-downloadable footwear, apparel, headgear, eyewear” and more “for use in virtual environments.”
ABG also filed trademarks in December for Elvis Presley and Sports Illustrated, indicating a desire to protect those trademarks in a new virtual domain as well.
Forever 21, which is owned by ABG, in December launched an exclusive partnership with Virtual Brand Group, a metaverse building company, which allows users to buy and sell Forever 21 products and customize their own stores on the platform. of Roblox video games.
Monthly drops will take place in a new virtual world on Roblox called “Forever 21 Shop City”. In addition to buying and selling Forever 21 accessories and clothing, users will be able to hire employees and customize their stores, while competing to become the “top shop” of the virtual universe.
The Italian luxury brand took part in Christie’s online auction last May with its first NFT. Gucci also sold a digital version of its Dionysus bag on Roblox for around $4,115 last August, about 20% more than the physical item.
Next month, Gucci is teaming up with Superplastic, creator of animated celebrities and digital collectibles, to launch a slew of new NFT releases. SuperGucci, a three-part release featuring NFTs and ceramic artwork, will also include Superplastic animated celebrity artists Janky and Guggimon in the Gucci Vault, the brand’s online concept store.
New Balance filed three trademark applications in mid-January that outline the potential for the brand to sell virtual footwear, apparel and athletic gear under the New Balance name.
In December, Nike Inc. acquired RTFKT, a digital creator of virtual sneakers, collectibles and accessories. Prior to that, Nike filed seven trademark applications related to its goal of creating and selling virtual sneakers and apparel.
Nike has also partnered with video game platform Roblox to launch “Nikeland”, a digital world for Nike fans to play games, log in and dress up their avatars in virtual clothing through a digital showroom, which includes products like the Air Force 1 and Nike Blazer. .
Puma has suggested making and selling “downloadable virtual goods” such as shoes, clothes, headwear, eyewear and bags, according to recently filed trademark applications.
The Baltimore, Maryland-based brand last month released its first-ever digital good in the form of 2,974 NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are digital replicas of the Genesis Curry Flow shoe that Steph Curry wore when he broke the NBA three-pointer record on December 14.
According to Under Armour, each digital shoe can be worn in three pre-programmed game ecosystems (Gala Games, Decentraland, and Sandbox), making it the first functional metaverse shoe.
Earlier this week, CNBC reported that Walmart had filed multiple trademark applications suggesting a possible move toward making and selling virtual goods in the metaverse.
Documents filed by Walmart also suggested that the retailer would offer virtual currency and NFTs. Walmart told CNBC in a statement that it “continually explores how emerging technologies can shape future shopping experiences.”
Brands to watch out for:
Point fix: CEO Elizabeth Spaulding told CNBC’s Lauren Thomas on NRF’s Big Show this week that there were no immediate plans for the company to enter the metaverse. “No plans yet, but I think there are a lot of things in the ecosystem we’re building now that could translate to the metaverse down the road,” she said.
Old Navy: President and CEO Nancy Green told CNBC’s Lauren Thomas on NRF’s Big Show that she thinks “the whole future of digital assets is exciting. I like the fact that the Gap brand took its first steps into this territory last year. At Gap Inc., we’re always sharing and learning across brands and translating what those learnings mean for each brand. We are always looking for possibilities in the future.
Ralph Lauren: CEO Patrice Louvet said on Monday at NRF’s Big Show that the Metaverse is a great way to reach younger consumers. “There are a lot of parallels between the metaverse and Ralph’s vision because we’re not a fashion business. We’re in the business of dreams,” he said.