Metabyte, Inc. has sued Meta Platforms for trademark infringement and unfair competition over Meta’s use of the trademark META in association with a variety of products and services previously offered under some well-known brands as FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and WHATSAPP.
Metabyte is a California based technology services and staffing company which has been doing business under the name Metabyte, Inc. since 1993. It prides itself as a company trusted by Fortune 500 companies with over 17 million users daily relying on their software and services for work or entertainment. Naturally, all of its services are provided under the trademark METABYTE, which has been federally registered in the United States.
In the complaint filed on 22 September 2023 with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Metabyte claims that Meta has been aware of Metabyte’s prior use of the trademark METABYTE and that Meta’s goods and services overlap with those offered by Metabyte. Metabyte further claims that Meta’s use of META as a mark is likely to cause confusion with the registered mark METABYTE.
Before Metabyte brought the lawsuit, the parties have been engaged in discussions trying to find ways to co-exist in the marketplace. Metabyte CEO Manu Mehta stated that they “bent over backwards over the past year to settle this matter out of court.”
Notably, this is the third lawsuit brought against Meta following their October 2021 rebranding. MetaX (a virtual reality company) and Metacapital (an investment firm) sued Meta in 2022 over their use of the trademark META. At the same time, Meta likely acknowledged the likelihood of confusion between their META trademark and third party marks incorporating the term META as they have taken steps to oppose trademark applications for such marks.
Meta has yet to file a response to the complaint brought by Metabyte and it remains to be seen whether it will attempt to reopen settlement discussions with Metabyte or if it will simply choose to defend its position in the lawsuit