Metaverse a money launderer in China?
Illegal financial activities such as fabricating fake metaverse investment projects and issuing metaverse virtual currencies should be stopped” – writes the China Mobile Communications Association Metaverse Consensus Circle.
As we read in bitcoin.en, last November, the People’s Bank of China expressed concern about NFT tokens and metaverses due to their cryptographic nature, making them subject to strict scrutiny by authorities. Gou Wenjun, analytical director at the AML Center, even stated that virtual money can be used for illegal financial activities, such as fraudulent fundraising, embezzlement, pyramid schemes and other types of fraud.
The statement of the Chinese authorities did not stop giants such as Tencent or Huawei, which, not wanting to stop the Western competition, have been registering trademarks for metasites (“Metaverse Satellite” and “Metaverse Exhibition”). They were followed by more than 1,300. Chinese companies, resulting in more than 8,500. applications.
Why registering a trade mark in China is so important?
In general, in very simple terms, under international law, registering a trade mark means being able to use it on an intellectual property basis, under whose banner various products and services can be issued. As the Polish-Chinese Business Council argues, China is dominated by the principle of primacy.
The law clearly states that the first to succeed in registering a name or image with the Chinese Patent Office can use the trademark. Importantly and probably most importantly, registering a patent in another country does not influence the decisions of the authorities in favour of the interested party, which favours the acquisition of a given trademark in China and deriving direct benefits from it or prevents its use. In Poland, for example, it is the court that can settle the issue of a hostile takeover in its independent decision, which does not mean that it will be to the benefit of the offender who did not report to the Office in time. However, in China, the decision is made administratively, according to a provision. You can evade it by filing a cancellation application or protest. Such an application needs to be supported by evidence and the support of a specialized Chinese law firm is required. It is also possible to costly buy back the rights to a mark, or rebranding of a brand to circumvent this dependency. Unfortunately, all of these solutions are very expensive and time-consuming.
As reported by the South China Morning Post last month The number of metaverse trademark applications has reached 16 thousand. The largest companies applying for the patent include m.in. Alibaba Group Holding, known for its huge contribution to the commerce market. Alibaba Group Holding filed 31 trademark applications last September, including for business units such as Alibaba Cloud, Taobao and DingTalk.
The next most famous player from this list is ByteDance, with its TikTok, which wants to register 6 trademarks. Tencent Holdings, on the other hand, has so far filed nearly 100 patent applications related to the metaverse,dot. gaming and social media.