Metaverse Trademark Applications Reach 16,000 in China

Sujha Sundararajan
Updated: Feb 22, 2022, 12:59 UTC

Chinese tech giants including Tencent, Baidu and NetEase have applied for metaverse trademarks with China’s National Intellectual Property Administration.


In an interview with The Paper on Monday, the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) said that the country has seen 16,000 trademark applications filed, encapsulating the term ‘metaverse.’

The CNIPA has strictly opposed malicious trademark registrations, especially if the company is trying to hoard trademarks without apparent purpose for use.

When applying for registered trademarks, the office further outlined that applicants should comply with the relevant provisions under the “Trademark Law.” They should also abide by the principle of good faith and not harm public interest or disrupt the trademark registration order.

Is China ‘Anti-Metaverse’?

China denied several metaverse-related trademark applications, including submissions made by NetEase, iQiyi, and Xiaohongshu. The rejection was to prevent abuse of the registration process amidst rampant applications submissions last year.

The National Intellectual Property Administration denied multiple trademark applications containing the word “yuan yuzhou,” which means metaverse in Mandarin.

China’s intellectual property regulator dealt with the exploding metaverse-related applications while preventing trademark ‘squatting’ – where someone other than the original brand owner obtains a trademark.

“What I see is the government encouraging enterprises to enter the metaverse arena with genuine technological capability,” Chen Gaojie of tech research firm PatSnap, told the SCMP.

Last week, Chinese authorities called metaverse “attractive and deceptive,” warning against fraud risks.

The Chinese Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission issued a notice highlighting the burgeoning metaverse space and how that has become a primary target for scammers raising money illegally and luring investors by promising high returns.

Additionally, following the countrywide ban on cryptos, the People’s Bank of China looks to clamp down on NFTs and the metaverse using AML tools. PBoC is likely to build efforts to reign in the space considering the latest surge in numbers.

Applications Pour in Despite Rejections

Repeated rejections on metaverse trademark submissions and warnings by the Chinese government have not held back firms filing applications.

Instead, there has been a remarkable increase in metaverse filings compared to 2021. The big question will be how many will get approval.

Companies such as Tencent, NetEase, TikTok owner ByteDance, and Alibaba are the front-runners in this space. The repeated filings note the potential growth of metaverse in the country.

The big four auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said that the metaverse market will grow 13% yearly to $1.5 trillion by 2030. Morgan Stanley has given astronomical valuations of $8 trillion in the total addressable market for the metaverse.

Given the widespread expansion of the NFT and metaverse space in China, approval by the government is likely to come with pitfalls for tech firms. If anything, it will be more stringent to avoid the possibility of fraud.

About the Author

Sujha Sundararajan is a writer-journalist with 7+ years of experience in Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and in general, FinTech news reporting. Her articles have featured in multiple journals such as CoinDesk, Protos, Bitcoin Magazine, CCN, Asia Blockchain Review, BeInCrypto and EconoTimes to name a few. She holds a Master’s in Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media and is also an accomplished Indian classical singer.

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