Reflecting on 2023: our key takeaways and what they mean for 2024

2023 brought a lot of innovation and changes for right holders and their brands. IP Metro's take on them and some words on how Magnify.Plus will continue to help in 2024!

As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on the big changes that impacted theIntellectual Property community this year… and will continue to do so in 2024.

The whole IP Metro team also takes this opportunity to wish you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Not your usual social network: the demise of Twitter, the rise of Threads. For years Twitter was plagued with management issues and a lack of clear direction, but brands did not need to care: the platform was strong and the audience was there to see and appreciate their content. Rebranded as “X” following Elon Musk’s acquisition and stripped of any moderation (in every sense of the word), the network has become something major brands no longer want to be associated with.

Unfortunately, as we wrote previously nature abhors a vacuum. Whether one’s brand is officially active on X or not monitoring the conversation has become critical. Now that the conditions to acquire a “validation” have been drastically lowered, brand impersonation has never been easier and could mislead customers or even bring them to phishing sites.

Partly in reaction to the above, Meta (née Facebook) launched Threads, first in the US in July, then in Europe 10 days ago. Similar to the pre-Musk twitter experience and backed by a company that knows how to work with and promote brands, the service has been adopted by major corporations and attracted 100M users after its US launch.

Magnify.Plus has already added Threads as a “channel” so brands can monitor what is said about them – and take action against infringing or libellous content straight from the interface.

A plurality of App Stores. Even though Magnify.Plus already monitors 40 different app stores, it is fair tosay that most users currently rely on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s AppStore. This year has seen unprecedented attacks on this duopoly however. Already forced to accept alternative payment options in the Netherlands, Apple has admitted they may have to allow third party application shops to coexist with its App Store under the Digital Market Act that will enter into force in March 2024.

The same regulation will apply to Google in Europe of course, but it may see changes in the US as well after losing its lawsuit against Epic Games where the Play Store was declared an “illegal monopoly”. While the lawsuit may be overturned on appeal, such news are likely to generate confusion amongst customers who might pay less attention when following a link to download an app.

Now that apps, legitimate or not, can be downloaded from anywhere, it is more and more important to monitor what is happening. Magnify.Plus is here to help, now and in 2024!

Generative AI for brands: to use or be used? Launched at the end of 2022, ChatGPT has been the technical sensation of the year and heralded the Large Language Model (“LLM”) revolution. While many brands have tentatively started using their most popular implementation (ChatGPT of course, but also Microsoft’s Copilot) in the course of their daily business, others are rightly worried about how these LLMs may leverage their own right-protected data as a source of “knowledge”.

Even though the technical aspects of the issue are far more complex, LLMs at the heart of generative AI need to analyze troves of available data to create apt answers. By their own admission OpenAI uses “a broad corpus of text that includes publicly available content, licensed content, and content generated by human reviewers” . Some authors have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Open AI “underlying large language models, GPT3.5 and GPT4 remix the copyrighted works of thousands of book authors—and many others—without consent, compensation, or credit.”

As 2024 will see updates and new LLMs emerging, right holders should be aware of how their brands and content can be found and (ab)used on the Internet.

Magnify.Plus’ powerful algorithms can help companies make an informed decision about what they are happy to make available, and which parts they want to keep to themselves.

ICANN and new TLDs: a date for dots? When ICANN – the organization in charge of the domain name system – approved applications for new Top Level Domains (“TLDs”) in2012 to complement .com, .info and others, close to 500 trademarks were registered as “dotBrands” by their respective holders. Even though several have been since abandoned, 375 are active. Among those, .BNPParibas one of the world’s biggest bank, .Abbot a pharmaceutical company, and of course .Google with sites such as Families.Google. Although 2023 saw 25 of such TLDs cancelled, it is also the year when ICANN finally announced a time frame for the next round: applications should be accepted in Q2 2026 “with the goal of April 2026”.

While it may seem like a long time – especially for those that have been waiting since the end of the previous round eleven years ago! – many applications submitted in2012 had required at least two years of internal preparation. If anything, the pressure for this round will be even higher: with 125 of such TLDs abandoned over the years, convincing business leaders of the real and specific opportunity of applying will require clear planning and tangible return on investment goals.

IP Metro’s executive team has been supporting major “dotbrands” since 2009, working with corporations to understand their vision, preparing their applications, ensuring they were approved by ICANN. We have always believed a dotBrand is a brand first, which is why it should be supported by a team of intellectual property experts.

Because a Top Level Domain also require a dedicated technical infrastructure, we will have more to share in Q1 2024… Stay tuned!

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