Corporate America has finally taken notice of Web3 — US trademark lawyer

This year saw an influx of trademark applications filed by various companies looking to get in on the Web3 action. By November, a total of 4,999 trademark applications had been filed in the United States for cryptocurrencies and digital-related goods and services — according to United States Patent and Trademark Office-licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis. 

Kondoudis believes the future of the Web3 ecosystem looks “bright” and “mainstream adoption is inevitable.” To learn more about the impact of Web3 trademark applications filed on the future of the Web3 ecosystem, Cointelegraph interviewed Kondoudis.

Cointelegraph has covered a wide range of trademark application stories in 2022, ranging from luxury brands such as Hermès to car brands like Ford, all making a bid for the Web3 ecosystem. In our interview, Kondoudis revealed that he was surprised by the scope and mix of companies that havefiled trademark applications for the Web3 ecosystem.

Cointelegraph: What surprised you most about filed trademark applications for the Web3 space this year? Any interesting observations from your perspective?

Mike Kondoudis: One of the biggest surprises is the disparate sectors represented in this year’s Web3 trademark applications. We saw filings by grocery stores, pet food brands, sports teams and leagues, cities and landmarks, casinos/gaming companies, and even game shows. This was the year that Web3 seemed to get the attention of corporate America.

CT: Were you surprised by the kind of companies that filed trademark applications for the Web3 ecosystem? Do you have any statistics on the type of companies that filed the most trademarks for the Web3 space? For example, was it food companies, booze companies or car companies? 

MK: Yes, there were some surprises this year, and the wave of new Web3 trademark applications included some curious trademark applications. For example, we saw Web3 trademark filings by car rental companies. It is not entirely clear how much of a market there may be for virtual car rentals or rental car NFTs in the metaverse.

At the same time, we saw some sectors that were saturated — all of the major players filed Web3 trademark applications. Some of these sectors include fast food, financial services, clothing/apparel, luxury goods and footwear. 

Seeing the wide range of trademark applications filed this year hints that mainstream adoption of Web3 technology is inevitable and also reveals that the ecosystem has the potential to grow and thrive in the future.

CT: Based on filed trademark applications for the Web3 ecosystem, what do you believe the future of Web3 (blockchain tech like the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs) will look like? 

MK: I think the future is bright and that mainstream adoption is inevitable. There are definitely macroeconomic forces and regulatory challenges to overcome in the near term. But, based on the Web3 trademarking activity I’ve seen, there are many major brands that are preparing to seriously invest in Web3 because they recognize the advantages and opportunities that blockchain technologies offer. That investment should ensure continued momentum toward the adoption of the Web3 ecosystem.

CT: Do you believe companies filing for trademarks in the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFT space are playing a crucial role in the adoption of blockchain-based technologies?

MK: Yes, I believe that the companies filing new trademark applications in these spaces are essential to the widespread adoption and implementation of Web3 and blockchain-based technologies. There are several technological challenges that will need to be overcome for the widespread adoption of Web3, and that is going to take money and time. Today’s Web3 trademark filers represent the economic catalysts to fund the investment needed to overcome the technological challenges. And, their investment will, over time, bring the technology within reach of smaller and more modest companies.

A wide variety of companies — including healthcare, insurance and alcohol brands — have all filed trademarks for NFT-, cryptocurrency- and metaverse-related activity. However, those given examples may not be able to navigate the space as easily as other brands, such as clothing companies, due to regulatory hurdles they need to overcome to fully integrate with the space.

CT: Do you think companies may have to overcome and navigate regulatory challenges before being able to navigate the Web3 space?

MK: I think that this is a sector-by-sector issue. In more heavily regulated industries like healthcare and insurance, for example, I think there will be some growing pains as companies try to comply with regulations that may not have been written with Web3 in mind. In contrast, industries with fewer regulatory burdens like apparel or luxury goods seem to have had an easier path to Web3.

CT: Are trademarks for the Web3 ecosystem expensive to file? How much do you believe, on average, companies are paying to file for Web3-based trademark applications? 

MK: One of the attractive aspects of trademarks is that they are not expensive to file. Many new Web3 trademark applications can be professionally prepared and filed for less than $2,000. This makes them a relative bargain, especially when compared to the costs of fighting a brand dispute without a federal trademark registration.

CT: Do you think the cryptocurrency bear market has negatively impacted the number of companies that filed for trademarks in the Web3 ecosystem?

MK: Yes, the difficulties in the cryptocurrency market, coupled with concerns about a broader economic downturn, seem to have had a marked impact on the number of new Web3 trademark applications. The number of new trademark filings for the Web3 ecosystem has declined by about 40% over the second half of 2022.

A long bear market and current market conditions exacerbated by the sudden collapse of FTX have taken a toll on the entire ecosystem. Although the business potential of the Web3 ecosystem still remains enormous, Kondoudis projected that next year may not necessarily see growth in the number of trademarks applications filed for the ecosystem, due to various factors such as a bear market with no estimated end in sight and a widely anticipated economic downturn.

CT: Do you expect to see an increase in trademark applications for the Web 3 space filed next year? Or do you expect things to slow down? 

MK: We do not expect to see an increase. We expect to see about the same number of filings.

The number of new Web3 trademark filings has decreased over the second half of this year. This decrease appears to be in response to concerns about recession, other macroeconomic concerns, and the cryptocurrency bear market. Since these concerns will likely continue in 2023, we expect their effects to continue as well. 

CT: Any relevant thoughts and comments about trademarks filed for the Web3 ecosystem, as well as your thoughts/opinions on blockchain tech like the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs? 

MK: The business potential of the Web3 ecosystem is significant. And, despite current headwinds, Web3 is going to continue to move toward mainstream adoption in the next few years. Brands will need protection in this ecosystem just as they do in the “real world” today. They’ll also need protection as they transition and/or expand into the virtual economy of Web3. That’s why so many companies have been filing Web3 trademark applications. 

The initial rush to file Web3 trademark applications seems to have run its course. We are now seeing the integration of Web3 products and services into mainstream trademarking strategies. Going forward, I would expect to see NFT, crypto and metaverse products and services included in trademark applications along with traditional or “real world” products and services.