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Is Indian IP Law Changing to Meet New Demand in the Age of Emerging NFT and Metaverse Trademark Registration?

Is Indian IP Law Changing to Meet New Demand in the Age of Emerging NFT and Metaverse Trademark Registration?


Businesses will have registered many more trademarks for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), virtual goods and services related to the Metaverse, and crypto assets by 2022.

Four thousand nine hundred ninety-seven trademark registration applications were submitted in 2022, compared to 1,890 in 2021, for the Metaverse and the virtual goods and services it is linked to. This demonstrates a strong demand for the Metaverse and related goods, despite the ecosystem’s challenges in becoming fully functional.

Despite a noted decline in NFT trading volume and revenues, interest in NFTs as a technology is still rising. According to Kondoudis’ calculations, there were 6,855 trademark registration applications for NFTs and products associated with them as of October 2022, up from 2,142 in the corresponding month of the previous year.

Several companies have submitted new trademark registration applications to join the Web 3.0 ecosystem in the past month. 

Luxury watchmaker Rolex also filed a trademark application with plans to broaden its empire through NFTs, NFT-backed media, NFT markets, and crypto exchange.

What is Web 3.0?

One must first comprehend Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 to understand Web 3.0. Web 1.0 refers to the years between 1991 and 2004 when most websites were static pages. At that time, most users were consumers of content rather than producers. After that, around 2004, Web 2.0 emerged, which was built on the concept of “the web as a platform,” i.e., uploading user content via mobile phones, social media accounts, and cloud webs. 

However, Web 2.0 had its own set of problems because there isn’t any incentive, to be honest, when the number of clicks equals the amount of money made. The result was ad-blockers, false information, clickbait, and fake news. 

A decentralized ecosystem based on blockchain technology supports a vision for the future of the internet. Web 3.0 technology was introduced in 2014 to assure the doubts raised about previous versions. Investing in cryptocurrencies, common people, technology companies, and venture capital firms helped increase popularity in 2021. While some trust that Web 3.0 ensures better data security, privacy and scalability. Frequently, concerns about the decentralized web have been expressed, citing the possibility of lax moderation and the spread of harmful content as reasons.

What are the new emerging intellectual property features in India?

The Government of India has recently undertaken a series of steps to bring about progressive changes toward a free market society. The rapid liberalization of international trade practices and demonstrating its commitments and contributions to the WTO under the TRIPS Agreement. This has been done by amending or reissuing the regulations relating to all forms of IP. This step will bring Indian IP legislation into compliance with acceptable international standards. Some of these developments are enumerated as follows:

  • Bringing Indian trademark law into line with international standards 

India replaced the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act 1958 with the Trade Marks Act 1999 to modernize Indian trademark law and guarantee the fulfilment of its TRIPS Agreement obligations. In some circumstances, the Trademarks (Amendments) Rules, 2014, have increased the filing fee. The Trade Marks Registry has issued an Order regarding changes that may be made to an application for trademark registration.

  • Protection of Geographical Indications

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 (GIG Act) was passed in India. It provides for the registration and protection of geographic indicators to help identify the country of origin, quality, reputation, and other distinctive qualities of the goods. Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea, Alphonso mangoes, Malabar pepper, cardamom, and Hyderabad grapes, well-known on the international market and abroad, are just a few examples of distinctive Indian products that have benefited from the Act’s protection.

  • Modification of Copyright Law

The copyright law was amended in 2012 to comply with the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and introduce technological protection measures. This ensures that fair use endures in the digital age by providing special fair use provisions, making many author-friendly amendments, making special provisions for the disabled, making amendments that make it easier for people to access works, and making other amendments to streamline copyright laws.

  • Patents Law is more aligned with TRIPS

With the addition of more inventions to the list of innovations that are not patentable, the inclusion of more patentee rights, and the reversal of the burden of proof in an infringement action on process patents, changes have been made to Indian patent laws under TRIPS, resulting in a uniform twenty-year patent protection period for all categories of invention.

  • Invention in software

The Indian Copyright Act 1957 protects computer programs or software. As opposed to including computer programs in Section 3 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, which deals with non-inventions, the Law expressly excludes computer programs from the scope of patentable subject matter.

However, the Patent Office established guidelines, which were most recently updated on June 30, 2017, to outline various rules and explanations regarding the patentability of computer-related inventions (CRIs).

The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs from the definition of patentable subject matter along similar lines.

In contrast, software and business methods are not expressly excluded from the list of things that can be patented in the USA. “The subject matter, to be patentable, must be a useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter,” according to the Law. The laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are three specific areas that are not patentable. According to the US Supreme Court, even though Congress intended the statutory patentable subject matter to include “anything under the sun made by man.”


Managing IP and IPR requires various programs and strategies that comply with national laws, treaties, and conventions. The main reason why IP rights were created was to advance scientific research. But it must be understood that they are significantly influenced by market demands, consumer reaction, the cost of converting intellectual property into a business, and others.

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