Metaverse trademark filings through August exceeded all of 2021—even as crypto prices tanked

September 7, 2022, 6:23 PM UTC
NFT token
Metaverse-related trademark applications are already more than double last year's total—and it's only September.
Photo Illustration by Fortune

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other top cryptocurrencies have plummeted to price levels not seen in months—if not longer—but that didn’t stop more than twice as many people and companies from filing Web3-related trademark applications.

According to data compiled by trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis, some 4,150 applications have been filed for metaverse or virtual “goods/services” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office through Aug. 31—easily eclipsing the 1,866 filed in 2021.

But it’s not just metaverse-related trademark applications far exceeding last year’s totals—filings linked to NFTs and cryptocurrencies have also skyrocketed, noted Kondoudis. Companies and individuals have filed some 5,800 trademark applications specifically related to NFTs through August, compared with 3,700 in 2021, and 3,600 cryptocurrency-related trademark applications were filed, about 100 more than all of last year.

The filings, which often predate companies launching a product or project, show that many firms believe the metaverse isn’t going anywhere, even as Wednesday’s precipitous price declines knocked crypto from the ranks of trillion-dollar-plus asset classes.

The number of metaverse-related trademark applications has slowed since its peak in March, when companies filed 759 applications, compared with 418 in August, but Kondoudis told Fortune that the filings are likely to continue.

“The rate of crypto trademark filings mirrors the rates for NFT and Metaverse products and services,” Kondoudis told Fortune in an email. “The filing rates for all three have slowed since a peak in March but are continuing and easily surpassing last year’s totals.”

Max Dilendorf, a New York–based lawyer, told Fortune that his firm works with a few sports NFT platforms that have seen strong growth.

Since last year, the market for sports NFTs has doubled to $2.6 billion, according to a study by Market Decipher, a research and consultancy firm. By 2024, the market could swell to $41.6 billion, said Market Decipher, making likely a flood of NFT trademark applications.

As for the metaverse, Facebook’s rebrand to Meta last year pushed a number of companies to take the concept of virtual worlds seriously. In the last few weeks, companies such as U.S. carmaker Ford, luxury fashion label Hèrmes, and Formula One all have filed metaverse-related trademarks, according to Kondoudis.

With some big banks like Citi betting that the metaverse could be a nearly $13 trillion market opportunity, brands are moving quickly to secure their piece of the pie.

“Businesses are preparing their brands to enter into the metaverse in the next few years,” added Kondoudis.

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.