New Balance is Gearing Up For the Metaverse with Trademark Filing for Virtual Products

New Balance has filed three trademark applications signalling its intention to sell virtual products in the metaverse.
Image source: Jeka Demidov on Unsplash

Quick take:

  • The trademarks will allow New Balance branded digital assets to be used in virtual environments.
  • It joins major sportswear brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma in the virtual world.
  • It’s unclear whether this trademark will bar the purchase of existing New Balance virtual shoes in games like NBA 2K.

Following the trend of sportswear brands entering the metaverse, New Balance is the latest to file a trademark application for its virtual goods created for use in virtual environments.

According to the USPTO trademark application report, three trademarks have been filed on Jan 13. The trademark application was filed by Gerben Intellectual Property on behalf of New Balance. The law firm also recently filed metaverse trademarks for Puma recently.

The first trademark covers “downloadable virtual goods, namely, computer programs featuring footwear, apparel, sports bags, sports equipment, and accessories for use in online virtual worlds”. The second allows virtual New Balance to use its virtual goods for online retail stores, and the final trademark allows the virtual goods to be used in virtual environments created for entertainment purposes.

This trademark filing has raised concerns amongst some who are wondering if they’ll be allowed to purchase existing New Balance virtual sneakers in games like NBA 2K. Trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Intellectual Property did not provide an answer to that.

New Balance is the latest sportswear giant to jump into the virtual world, following in the footsteps of predecessors like Nike, Adidas, and Puma.

This is perhaps the company’s way of connecting with younger consumers, to whom he attributes the growth of New Balance.

According to sporting goods trade publication SGB Media, Joe Preston, president and CEO of New Balance, said: “In the U.S. when we grew to a billion, we were young, but then we flatlined for quite some time, and our brand demographics just got older and older. A very loyal business, so we didn’t suffer a major decline, but our growth was not robust because we could not capture the younger consumer in the U.S. That was not the case outside the U.S. The growth that we’ve experienced outside the U.S. has come from a younger customer.”

Both Nike and Puma have opened metaverse job roles in their companies. The former has hired Virtual Material Designers while the latter is currently looking for a Digital Culture Manager with Web3 experience.

Adidas is ramping up its efforts in the NFT space with a roadmap in the works for its Into The Metaverse NFT, as well as a new NFT collaboration with luxury fashion house Prada dropping next week.

New Balance has yet to reveal any plans on the role it will play in the metaverse. 

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