Social media giant, Facebook, is heading for a high-profile dispute over intellectual property rights, after announcing plans to rebrand its business using the name ‘Meta’.
It seems the social media giant was unaware that an Arizona-based retailer, Meta PCs, which sells a wide range of computer related hardware and gaming software, had filed a registration for its brand name in August this year.
Even though the trade mark application is still pending, the fact that Meta PCs got there first means they have the lead over Facebook. It has been reported by TMZ that one of the founders of the business, Zack Shutt, has informed Facebook that they won’t sell the rights for less than $20 million.
Mark Caddle, partner and trade mark attorney at European intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, said:
“This appears to be an own goal for Facebook and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the company, as it plans a rebrand to refresh its corporate image.
“When filing for trade mark protection, the applicant must demonstrate use of the brand. In this case however, Meta PCs has been trading under its brand name for about a year and it filed its application for trade mark protection to the US Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO) in August this year.
“The registration applies to a category of goods known as Class 9, which includes a wide range of computing and other tech-related items.
“Facebook should have done more homework in the form of due diligence before announcing its plans to rebrand and failing to do so could prove very costly indeed, not just in terms of its finances but also its corporate reputation.”