The estate of Kobe Bryant, the former NBA basketball player who died on 26 January 2020 following an accident with his helicopter, has filed three trademark applications for virtual assets to protect his name in the metaverse.
The filings include “Kobe Bryant” and “Mamba Forever” and “Mambacita”.
Kobe Bryant and trademarks to protect his name in the metaverse
According to reports, the estate of Kobe Bryant, the former American professional with a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), has filed three trademark applications to protect his name in the metaverse.
These are “Kobe Bryant” and “Mamba Forever”, for all digital objects, such as clothing and footwear, as well as jewellery, avatars, toys and even trading cards, while the brand name “Mambacita,” is dedicated to his daughter Gianna.
Josh Gerben, a Washington-based trademark attorney who follows filings by athletes and others said:
“There’s been this avalanche of trademark filings from different companies and celebrities to protect their rights regarding things in the metaverse”.
Gerben points out that this application was the first he had seen from a basketball star.
Trademarks to avoid plagiarism in the metaverse
The issue of copyright in the metaverse is being hotly debated. So while many, such as Kobe Bryant, are registering their trademarks to protect themselves, others seem to have already gone to “war”.
This is the case of the famous French fashion house Hermès, which is reportedly suing the artist Mason Rothschild for creating NFT collections depicting furry renderings of the traditional Birkin bag.
While Hermès accuses the artist of being a “digital speculator”, Rothschild defends his position by stating that he did not create or sell fake bags, but simply created artwork depicting imaginary Birkin bags.
In this case, it will be up to a judge to determine whether or not there has really been a violation of the brand.
Meta and the behavioural norms of avatars in Horizon World and Horizon Venues
The former Facebook, Meta, recently introduced a new behavioural norm for avatars in Horizon World and Horizon Venues, which imposes a sort of distancing in the metaverse.
It is called Personal Boundary, and it prevents avatars from coming within a certain distance of each other, creating personal space for users behind their characters in the metaverse.
According to their philosophy, the Personal Boundary would represent a measure against harassment, becoming part of a set of rules that protect users in living their immersive experiences feeling comfortable.