Facebook changed its name to Meta in October keeping an eye on the metaverse and all its possibilities. As The Verge points out, the company had plans to “dominate the nascent metaverse”, but it seems that at least one company is not pleased and is going public with their complaints.
An installation-art company called Meta (or Meta.is) has announced that it is going to sue Meta (Facebook) for “trademark violation” and has alleged that the name change of the company has violated its established brand.
Meta.is posted on its website that Facebook seized its Meta mark and name on October 28, 2021, which is “put our blood, sweat, and tears into building for over twelve years”. The company added that it has been trying for eight months to negotiate with Facebook “in good faith” and it hasn’t led to anything. This Meta.is has no other option but to file a lawsuit against Meta/Facebook.
Much of Meta.is’ case hinges on Facebook’s privacy scandal. The installation-art company has argued that these scandals have made it impossible for it to share the name. The company pointed out that it can “no longer provide goods and services” under the Meta mark because consumers will mistakenly associate Meta.is’ goods with the social media giant and the “toxicity that is inextricably linked with Facebook”.
While Meta.is does hold the valid trademark for the name, as The Verge points out, the company is still going to face a difficult battle in court thanks to the range of trademark applications Meta/Facebook has made since it changed the name. These trademark applications cover separate marks for messaging, financial services, and social networks. Additionally, there are also a bunch of trademarks that are claiming the Meta name for non-tech products including “a hard seltzer and a manufacturer of prosthetic limbs”. Given all this, it will be interesting to see how the court battle plays out.