The concept of the metaverse—a universally shared virtual environment accessed by the use of virtual and augmented reality devices—continues to evolve. As it does, so do the associated opportunities and risks that accompany it.
While the full realization of some of the loftier aspirations for the metaverse remains a still-distant horizon, numerous individual technologies that will underpin it already exist, many for a decade or longer. Artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technologies (e.g., the blockchain), cryptocurrency exchanges and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are just a few of the interconnected applications that themselves will serve as crucial components of the metaverse. As the ubiquity of these technologies increases, so, too, does the real-world construction, application and enforcement of relevant laws, regulations and policies that govern them. Pillsbury’s lawyers have long been at the forefront of the “new” and the “next” in this regard—guiding clients through the hype and noise to address immediate needs and also anticipate still developing challenges and opportunities so clients can strategize for the long-term.
Though some legal questions and issues relating to virtual worlds have yet to be answered—or even arise—many others are best viewed as extensions of existing needs in the material one. Intellectual property protection and the stewardship of efforts by startups, high-growth enterprises and institutional investors, for example, represent often urgent constants in both. The lawyers on our Metaverse team provide clients with successful and comprehensive IP strategies to protect, manage and optimize IP assets in a multitude of existing contexts, all while layering in an understanding of the unique circumstances the Metaverse presents.
We help emerging companies and investors analyze and navigate entrance and exit strategies, leveraging our extensive experience with the full range of developer, provider and user agreements to structure and negotiate the game-changing technology transactions that can occur at any stage of a company’s life cycle.
In addition to assisting our clients with the expansive demands of the emerging metaverse, Pillsbury’s lawyers:
Help individuals and companies seeking to utilize NFTs to extend their brands and forge new paths to monetizing more traditional portfolios of assets.
Develop and implement cybersecurity programs that balance the need to anticipate swiftly evolving threats from criminal and state-sponsored entities (ransomware, DDoS attacks, etc.), with growing compliance challenges relating to privacy and data protection (GDPR, CCPR).
Represent stakeholders at all levels of the esports ecosystem, itself a collection of quasi-metaverses. Our clients include game publishers and developers, media companies, streaming services and investors.
Assist companies across a variety of sectors to overcome insurer reluctance, and recognize and protect policyholder assets in the metaverse, and
Ensure companies that are actively engaging in the metaverse are heard on Capitol Hill as lawmakers craft the laws that will govern existing and emerging virtual environments.