I™: avatars as trade marks
Adrian, A 2007, 'I™: avatars as trade marks', Computer Law & Security Review, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 436-448.
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Virtual worlds may be the future of e-commerce. The game designers who created these thriving virtual worlds have discovered a much more attractive way to use the Internet: through an avatar. This avatar is your identity. It will be your trade mark. Trade marks, more than other species of intellectual property, are one step further from tangible property. Stephen Carter has called trade marks “owning what does not exist.” Every kind of intellectual property requires participants, users, to acquire value. What makes trade marks different is that they require participants to acquire meaning. This article deals with the complex problem of creating intangible property interests (i.e., trade marks) in what does not exist except in virtual reality. How do two parties with competing interests (game developers and the players) work to create trade marks within pre-trade marked worlds?