Facebook’s Meta Name Faces Trademark Issue With PC Maker

Facebook may have to overcome a trademark issue in the United States, after it announced last week that it was as changing its corporate holding company name to ‘Meta’.

The major rebranding of the social networking giant was noted by a surprised gaming PC specialist in Arizona, called Meta PCs.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Meta PCs sells computers, laptops and software for gamers, and in August this year, it filed for its trademark, according to a document shared by TMZ.

Facebook becomes Meta

IP battle?

Zack Shutt, one of the founders of Meta PCs, told the Guardian newspaper that the company was registered in November of last year, and their team was unaware about Facebook’s plans to use “Meta” in any part of its rebranding until last week.

Shutt, along with co-founder Joe Darger, told TMZ they won’t sell the name for less than $20m if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tries to get the name.

Shutt declined to further comment on this to the Guardian, citing legal concerns.

The Guardian quoted Mark P McKenna, a professor at the University of California (UCLA) School of Law, as saying that even though Meta PCs has made an application to trademark its name, there are loopholes that may allow Facebook to acquire the name.

One such measure apparently is filing an application in another country and using that application date to file in the US – a practice often used by big companies.

“They look for a little country without a searchable system and then file there,” he told the Guardian. “That would be a way for them to have an earlier date.”

He added that trademark registration doesn’t define rights of a company in the US in this regard.

“In the US, rights aren’t created by trademark registration – the rights arise out of use,” he said.

Having fun

So it remains to be seen whether Meta PCs has the legal ability to wrangle $20 million payout from Mark Zuckerberg and co.

In the meantime, despite a potential IP clash, Meta PCs managed to poke fun at the situation it found itself in, in a tweet.

“To reflect who we are and what we hope to build I’m proud to announce that we are now Facebook,” Shutt said in a video.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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