A great discussion about trademark law (IP) in legal surrounding the Metaverse with Tom Polcyn, who leads the IP practice at Thompson Coburn. We unpack the implications of trademarking your company name for the metaverse – a possible future proofing of ownership going forward. Does it make sense… and its resulting implications.
A tour of the Metaverse with the CEO of Mesmerise. An enterprise grade space that allows for large conferences, and more intimate spaces to meet and interact in the Metaverse.
In a new Q&A interview, Thomson Reuters’ technologist and futurist Joseph Raczynski offers his insight about the Metaverse and how it will impact the legal industry
In February this year, ArentFox Schiff announced that it had become the first major US law firm to “join the Metaverse” by acquiring a land site in Decentraland, a fact that underscored how seriously lawyers are taking one of the latest technology trends. Thomson Reuters’ technologist and futurist Joseph Raczynski talks about how the Metaverse will impact the legal space, and what lawyers should do to prepare.
Asian Legal Business: You’ve written previously about the Metaverse and the preparedness of lawyers. How widespread do you think the use of this will be in the near future, and how can lawyers make sure they are sufficiently prepared?
Joseph Raczynski: If by the near future we are saying three to five years, I would say 100% that the Metaverse will be used in various forms by the majority of the population in the industrialized world. It has already started. There are two forces at play that are enabling the Metaverse: One, blockchain, which is a unique way to store information in a provable, unalterable way. Second, the emerging hardware is key. When Apple releases its Virtual Reality (VR) or Mixed Reality (MR) headset in the coming year or so, it will force all of us to head into the Metaverse. Just for perspective, VR is fully immersive, while MR allows you to see the physical world and places digital imagery on top of that.
I have likely spoken to thousands of lawyers over the last several years. They are extraordinarily bright, but with one limiting factor — their dedication to their craft. This means that they do not have the time to lift their heads to see what is coming. All these emerging technologies will impact their practices in some way, as well as the business of law. At a minimum, lawyers need the opportunity to focus on the big four: AI, blockchain, workflow, and the grab bag of general emerging technology. There are a multitude of places to learn about these things, but I would include some of the classics such as Google Alerts, Twitter threads on these topics, and magazines like Wired, which should be a staple for everyone.
Asian Legal Business: What kind of opportunities could the Metaverse bring to lawyers?
Joseph Raczynski: Imagine a world, much like what we have now, but only digital. It is nearly as immersive and interactive. Then, extrapolate all the problems, issues, benefits, and challenges we have currently in real life, and think about where lawyers play a role. It will be similar. In the beginning, much of the involvement of lawyers will be around intellectual property (IP) issues and copyright.
Soon thereafter, insurance and contractual disagreements will ensue, but these contract issues could be interesting because of the nature of the platform a Metaverse will be built upon. Since it should rely on blockchain and smart contracts, these disputes could likely be easier to solve at a lower tier, leaving lawyers to resolve more complex issues.
Asian Legal Business: How does our engagement with digital worlds and environments shape the way we work and the kind of work we carry out?
Joseph Raczynski: If we presume that we are moving increasingly into a digital world, then every nuance surrounding that space will become increasingly important. Start with artificial intelligence (AI). Algorithms will increasingly be able to make decisions for us. Yes, this includes much of the legal work out there. These algos start off simply, but will become far more complex, freeing us from some decisions or work.
Stack on top of that blockchain, which is trustless (as in, you don’t have to trust a third-party) database, meaning both AI and blockchain can work in tandem to begin doing some pretty impressive workflows that are automated. When we move into the Metaverse for both fun and business, everything can be quantified, e.g. a house, shoes, art, tickets to a concert, via a non-fungible token (NFT) which uses a blockchain. Processes will increasingly be leveraging data and AI to make decisions which will rely less on human intervention.
I know this can sound frightening, and it could be — which is why as this progresses, we need the best legal minds to understand the implications, yet keep a progressive mindset to guide the path forward. We do not merely wish to replicate everything we have in the real world, but try to evolve it to the best we humanly can.
This interview was written by Elizabeth Beattie, a Hong Kong-based journalist at Thomson Reuters, and originally published in Thomson Reuters Asian Legal Business.
Mona is one of the leading open Metaverse platforms. Today I sat down with Justin Melillo, CEO of Mona. Their focus is on creativity and design and decentralization. We get a bit technical, but it was fantastic to see the grand vision of this startup. Having witnessed many Metaverses, Mona stands out as one of the more visually stunning.
I met with Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands, virtually. This is one of the largest and most progressive Web3 companies around. They have a huge number of investments and projects they are involved with. We get into a host of different topics including where the company is headed, what they are involved with, the future state of Play to Earn, recent issues in the crypto DeFi space, and the future of blockchain gaming.
At the Austin Convention Center at the Consensus 2022 conference, Josh Swihart, SVP of Marketing at Zcash, and I caught up. This covers off on the original privacy token built in the spirit of Bitcoin but with ZKP properties for privacy and security.
In the speaker’s green room at the Consensus 2022 conference, Garry Kasparov, Chess Grandmaster, and I caught up. This covers all things cryptocurrency and his belief in the importance of the technology to create more freedom for people across the world, especially in areas with more authoritarian regimes.