While most brand owners are still trying to understand exactly what Web3 is and how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain domains fit into it, the healthy investment and momentum in this space is causing brand owners to quickly reassess brand protection strategies. Because blockchain domain names are not governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and are not subject to its dispute processes, such as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), brand owners do not have the luxury to take a sit back and watch approach to Web3. They must take steps now to proactively protect themselves in the latest iteration of the modern digital universe.
Here are the five things to do now to protect your brands in Web3:
- File for expanded trademark rights. If you plan on connecting with consumers in an interactive, digital way, you may be entering the metaverse, an immersive virtual world focused on social connection, engagement, and collaboration. To protect your brand, consider filing new trademark applications that cover virtual goods and NFTs in classes 09, 35, 41 and 42. Given that infringement is always a risk on any popular platform, trademark registrations in those classes may be required by operators of such platforms to implement takedown procedures.
- Get your brand on trademark protection lists. Some NFT providers, like Unstoppable.com, have Protected names that are reserved for brands and trademark owners. Domains on their protected list are associated with a brand, organization, or notable person. If your trademarked brands are not on a protection list, your registrar may be able to work with the provider to get trademarked terms added to their protection lists.
- Defensively register if trademark protection isn’t available. If you’re not able to protect your brand with a trademark protection list, consider registering core brands and highly squatted trademarks across key Web3 domain extensions, like .crypto, .nft, .wallet, .coin, .bitcoin, and .eth. Even if you are unsure of your strategies in the rapidly evolving metaverse and Web3, if budgets allow, you should consider defensive domain registrations, as once a blockchain domain is registered and minted onto a blockchain, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to recover.
- Incorporate Web3 terms into traditional domain registrations. With the increased interest in Web3 and the metaverse, bad actors are quickly taking notice and looking to capitalize on unsuspecting customers that may fall victim to scams using confusingly similar or look-a-like domains. Consider adding key terms like NFT, meta, and crypto to defensive domain registrations across popular gTLDs like .com and .net, along with TLDs with higher infringement rates. Like we’ve stated before, imagine that everything old is new again -- malicious actors and scammers will employ old scams in new ways, exploiting users’ unfamiliarity with new technologies.
- Monitor and enforce where appropriate. Monitor traditional internet channels including domains, websites, app stores, social media, and marketplaces, along with NFT exchanges, like OpenSea and Rarible, for abuse that exploits your brand in conjunction with common Web3 terms. It’s imperative that brand protection strategies operate on two levels: domain registrations to support online objectives across the modern digital universe and a strategic monitoring program that allows you to quickly identify abuse when it occurs.
Appdetex delivers comprehensive solutions to help global brands protect their intellectual property across the modern digital universe, including Web3. If you want to learn more about how you can help keep your brand resilient online in the face of this emerging technology, please contact us, and we’ll be glad to help.