In October, Facebook created a new parent company called Meta as a way for the behemoth to focus on and promote ambitions beyond its core social networking product.
But it turns out that not everyone is happy about it.
A New York-based installation-art company, whose work includes creating virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, is suing Meta for trademark violation. Because its name is also Meta.
“On October 28, 2021, Facebook seized our Meta mark and name, which we put our blood, sweat, and tears into building for over 12 years,” the smaller company said in a post explaining its decision to sue the company formerly known as Facebook (for clarity, we’ll stick with Facebook going forward).
Meta explained that part of the problem is that it has “powered the types of experiences and products that Facebook is now building, and has served the same creators and consumers that Facebook is now targeting.”
It said that after Facebook announced the new name for its company last fall, it approached the social networking giant to try to resolve the issue.
But it added that after eight months of trying to negotiate with Facebook, it’s been left with no choice but to file a lawsuit against the company.
In the complaint filed this week with a federal district court in Manhattan, Meta alleges that Facebook infringed its federally registered trademarks and common law trademark rights, and is engaged in what it describes as “egregious acts of unfair competition.”
In comments on its website, it added: “Facebook talks a big game about supporting creators, but the proof is in their actions. If they’re willing to blatantly seize our IP and use it in the same spaces we have operated in for more than a decade, we can’t imagine what’s coming when they further saturate our industry and dominate the ‘metaverse.’”
Responding to a letter sent by Meta to Facebook in December 2021, the California company run by Mark Zuckerberg claimed the two companies offer “drastically different goods and services” and are therefore able to “peacefully co-exist,” Meta said in its filing.
Meta is after a permanent injunction stopping Facebook from using the “Meta” name, and seeks to recover from Facebook “the gains, profits, and advantages that [Facebook] has obtained as a result of its continuing willful, wrongful acts.”
Meta is well aware that it faces big challenges in its David-and-Goliath clash with Facebook, saying that it expects an “arduous journey.”
Digital Trends has reached out to the social networking company for a response to Meta’s action and we will update this article when we hear back.
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