Lakers News: Shaquille O’Neal Files To Trademark ‘SHAQ’ To Protect His Intellectual Property In Metaverse
Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal has proven to be one of the most business-savvy former NBA players since he retired in 2011.

O’Neal’s had great success in the media and advertising industries as well as in the real estate and tech markets, among other ventures. In September, he hosted a music and comedy event in Las Vegas, which raised money to provide opportunities and resources for children through The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation.

The 49-year-old athlete-turned-businessman is now reportedly planning to seize on the potential opportunities provided by the fast-developing virtual space, known as the metaverse. Footwear News’ Shoshy Ciment reports O’Neal and his partners have filed applications to trademark the word “SHAQ” for use on virtual items:

“Just like you might buy a branded product in the real world that says ‘Shaq’ on it, now you might buy one of those in the virtual world,” explained trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Law Firm.

The move serves as evidence of O’Neal’s business acumen. Traditional trademarks the former Lakers center currently owns likely don’t extend to the virtual world. Hence, O’Neal preemptively filed the applications to protect his intellectual property in the metaverse — even though it hasn’t yet launched, at least on a global scale:

“The existing registrations that they have on these brands do not cover virtual goods because virtual goods was not a thing five or 10 years ago,” said Gerben, explaining why so many brands are filing trademarks for products and phrases in the virtual world. “No one really thought that you might need protection on something like this.”

O’Neal’s leap into the metaverse follows similar actions taken by the biggest sportswear brands, including Nike and Adidas.

O’Neal says Staples Center name will forever belong to him and Kobe Bryant after arena’s rebranding

In further example of the digital goods and services market’s rapid expansion, Staples Center recently changed its name to Arena after its owners struck a blockbuster naming rights deal with the cryptocurrency exchange platform.

The news enraged many fans in L.A. but not O’Neal, who thinks the sports complex’s iconic name will now forever be associated with the triumphs of the early 2000s Lakers team — with which he celebrated three NBA championships alongside the late Kobe Bryant.

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