A Quick Look at Patenting Activity in the Metaverse

Last updated: July 29, 2022

The metaverse is a common buzzword on the internet nowadays. But what is it really? Simply put, the metaverse is a virtual space that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). People have digital avatars that allow them to interact with the digital environment and other users. The metaverse is accessible via mobile devices, desktops and extended reality headsets. Examples include Decentraland, The Sandbox, Metahero and HyperVerse. The metaverse – and the investment flowing into it – provides opportunities for companies looking to innovate in this rapidly evolving space. Like the Internet, it will transform business, technology, and art.

Patenting and Metaverse

The concept of the metaverse is decades old but it is gaining popularity now. The video game industry was the first to establish it. Inventors can apply the best practices used for previous video game technology to prepare metaverse related patents. Major corporations like IBM, Microsoft, HTC Corp, Activision Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Nike, have already filed patents in the metaverse space.

Generally, patent applications related to the metaverse are filed in the following areas:

  • Hardware Technologies – Patents have been filed for hardware components such as CPUs, GPUs supporting the metaverse environment, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets
  • Software Technologies – Software innovations could include processes that are used for performance, access, or synchronization in the metaverse environment. Due to an over lap from older video games and simulation programs, software patents must identify the step in the process that is unique to its execution in the metaverse

Analysis of Metaverse Patent Filings using PatSeer

We carried out a preliminary patent search using the relevant keywords, IPC & CPC classes related to metaverse technology in PatSeer. The result set was analysed to find patenting trends, prominent countries, and top industries that have the most metaverse related patents.

The charts below provide a general outline of the metaverse space:

  1. Patenting trends – Patent filings for the metaverse started almost a decade ago but have increased since 2019. The chart depicts applications plotted by their earliest filing dates and published grants in the last 10 years. Patenting activity in 2021-22 has increased fourfold compared to 2019-20.
    Metaverse Patent Filings
  2. Top countries – The chart below shows the hottest geographies where metaverse patents are being protected. Aside from the US, Asian countries are also prominent markets for metaverse technology. The metaverse market size is estimated to reach USD 800 billion by 2030, growing at a rate of 38-39% from 202c)
  3. Prominent industries – Metaverse patents are being protected in the following industries.

PatSeer has a feature for mapping patents to industries wherein the number of unique families for each industry are counted. Use PatSeer’s IP analytics to create a wide range of compelling charts and interactive graphics to visualize the patent landscape in your area of interest.

Recent Developments in the Metaverse

The metaverse is going to be a profitable place for companies willing to understand and utilize its possibilities. Established companies are preparing to acquire licenses or file patents to enter the metaverse. Here are a few notable updates from key companies in this space:

  • Microsoft – Microsoft declared its acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard in January 2022. Microsoft says this would provide building blocks for the metaverse and plans to expand its foundation as a premier gaming company.
  • Meta – In January 2022, Meta pledged to spend $10 billion a year over the next decade on innovations related to the metaverse.
  • Apple – Apple is already filing patents related to computer generated reality techniques including AR, VR and techniques that allow the user to go in or out of a meticulous indoor environment. Apple wants to combine AR and VR with technology & the liberal arts to enhance human capability. The company has expressed its interest in creating solutions that change lives.
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