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A recent decision by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has shed light on the complexities of trademark protection in the burgeoning field of virtual reality (VR). In the case of ZERODENSITY YAZILIM ANONIMSIRKETI v. NOVEL BRANDS USA LLC, the Turkish company

Zerodensity successfully opposed the registration of the trademark "REALITY ENGINE" by the American company Novel Brands.



The Dispute:

Novel Brands USA LLC applied to register the trademark "REALITY ENGINE" for downloadable and recorded software related to VR experiences.

Zerodensity YAZILIM ANONIM SIRKETI, a developer of VR simulation software, opposed the application, arguing that:

"REALITY ENGINE" is descriptive of VR technology and lacks distinctiveness.

The mark would cause confusion with Zerodensity's existing trademarks, including "ZERO DENSITY" and "ZERO MOTION."



IPOS Decision:

IPOS sided with Zerodensity, finding that "REALITY ENGINE" was indeed descriptive of VR software and lacked the necessary distinctiveness to be registered as a trademark.

The hearing officer noted the growing use of terms like "reality" and "engine" in the VR industry, making it difficult for consumers to distinguish "REALITY ENGINE" from other similar marks.

Additionally, the possibility of confusion with Zerodensity's existing trademarks was deemed significant, particularly considering the closely related nature of the businesses involved.



Implications for VR Trademark Landscape:

•       This decision highlights the challenges of trademark protection in the VR space, where generic terms are often used to describe technology and experiences.


•       Companies developing VR products and services should carefully consider the distinctiveness of their chosentrademarks and conduct thorough searches to avoid potential conflicts.


•       The decision also underscores the importance of protecting existing trademark rights in the VR domain, especially as the industry continues to evolve and attract new players.


Balaji Loganathan, Biro Oktroi Roosseno Singapore

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