A lawsuit has been launched against Facebook owner Meta by a company of the same name which says its “flagrant, unlawful conduct” has “crushed” the business.
The company is called MetaX LLC and filed a lawsuit in Manhattan on Tuesday, July 19.
The company brands as “Meta” and the suit states the firm was created in 2010, applied for a trademark in 2016, and had it registered in 2020.
It creates immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.
Last October , Facebook rebranded as Meta and declared a shift in focus to so-called “metaverse” technology, and has now also incorporated VR and AR technology.
The suit claims Meta’s rebranding, paired with its metaverse goal, has affected MetaX’s business.
The company said in its lawsuit: “Meta has been crushed by Facebook’s flagrant, unlawful conduct.”
MetaX founder Justin “JB” Bolognino tweeted saying the firm devoted “blood, sweat, and tears” to create its brand, which Meta has “seized.”
MetaX said the rebranding has already caused consumer confusion, with one asking whether one of its products was “a Facebook thing.”
The two firms’ logos are also “conceptually identical,” the lawsuit says because they both feature symmetrical designs that resemble the letter “M.”
MetaX argues Facebook was aware of its existence for years before its rebranding to Meta.
The lawsuit claims that in 2017, Bolognino exchanged emails with top Facebook officials who had seen an experience it had hosted at an event.
The lawsuit says: “Facebook and Bolognino then engaged in further discussion about Meta’s products and services, leading Facebook to solicit Meta to collaborate with Facebook on future work,”
It goes on to say that the two firms presented a combined project incorporating augmented reality and AI, but it doesn’t say what the project was.
The complaint says Bolognino wrote to Meta in December 2021, expressing worry that the rebranding might affect his firm.
A Meta employee responded to Bolognino in a letter included in the case as evidence, stating that the two firms provide “drastically different goods and services.”
The lawsuit says MetaX corresponded with Facebook in “good faith” for eight months and furnished the tech titan with papers relevant to its trademark rights.
MetaX is seeking an injunction and monetary damages to prevent Meta from using the term “Meta” in connection with its company or services.
It does not say how much money MetaX is looking for.
What MetaX says
A statement on Meta X’s website said: “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.”
“This lawsuit is bigger than our company.
“The outcome will have major implications for the protection of intellectual property rights as the Web2 and Web3 ecosystems evolve.
“Today, we take a stand for the future of our industry—to ensure that intellectual property rights are recognized, protected, and respected.
“Whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or are new to our industry, our DNA has always been the same: we have been META since 2010, empowering creators and pioneering creator-driven immersive experiences.”
Meta/Facebook had not responded to a request for comment from Business Insider.