Meta drama: How Facebook’s rebrand has led to trademark chaos among SMEs

Facebook Meta Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg announces Meta. Source: AP/Eric Risberg.

Facebook’s much-hyped Meta rebrand is causing chaos for one businesses already trading under the name Meta PCs, while another appears to have jumped on the bandwagon with dubious cause.

Arizona-based Meta PCs, which sells tech for gamers, had reportedly trademarked the name ‘Meta’ in August, some months before Facebook did.

Until Mark Zuckerberg announced the change to the tech giant’s branding last week, nobody on the Meta PCs team had any idea it was coming.

Their trademark petition is not yet granted, however founders Zach Shutt and Joe Darger have told US publication TMZ they’re willing to pull their application, if Facebook pays up $20 million for the favour.

The founders say the move would force them to rebrand their own company, at considerable cost. And one Twitter commenter has suggested they’re selling their startup short, suggesting they should be asking Zuck for at least $1 billion.

But it’s not all challenging for the David fighting the tech Goliath. The report also suggests Meta PC has seen a 5000% uptick in their social media following since Facebook’s announcement.

The team has also made use of Zuckerburg’s free advertising on Twitter, while Shutt has posted a parody video announcing that Meta PC is rebranding to Facebook.

Elsewhere, a company claiming to be named Meta Company has released an open letter suggesting Facebook “stole our name and livelihood”.

In the letter, Meta Company founder Nate Skulic claims lawyers representing Facebook have been “hounding” the business, trying to get them to sell their name.

He claims Facebook has “tried to bury us by force of media”, and says the letter should be regarded as “a public cease and desist”.

The founder finishes by saying the dispute has delayed Meta Company’s product launch.

The letter has attracted some attention, with commentators suggesting the large corporate is “bullying” a small business.

However the legitimacy of Meta Company, and its claims, have also come into question.

The business appears to have no website, aside from the page hosting the letter. There is no information online as to what the business is or what it does, and all of its social media pages were created in the past few weeks or days.

It does appear, however, that someone named Nathaniel Skulic has been heading up a Chicago-based business named Meta LLC since 2013. But the lack of any other info has got Redditors riled up and Twitter users sceptical.

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