Meta Company, not to be mistaken with the newly announced Meta rebranding of Facebook, has published a letter about the latter company’s name change, accusing the social media giant of making lowball offers for its domains and trademark. According to the Chicago-based Meta Company, it rejected these offers, but Facebook went on to announce its Meta rebrand regardless.
Meta Company vs. Meta
Shortly after announcing the rebrand, a number of publications pointed out that there are existing companies named “Meta” and that they may have some issues with the big change. There is, for example, an Arizona-based company called Meta PC and, as it has made clear today, there’s a Chicago-based company called, well, Meta Company.
In a long letter published on the company’s website, Meta Company Founder Nate Skulic alleged that Facebook lawyers had reached out to his company over a desire to buy its name. Skulic goes on to claim, “We refused their offer on multiple bases,” alleging that Facebook made a “low offer that wouldn’t cover” the name change costs. Beyond that, Skulic says the company wanted to know who was behind the proposal and what their intent was.
In his letter, Skulic states:
On October 20th, 2021, during a phone call with Facebook attorneys, we declined their low offer and maintained our requirements. At this point, we presumed it was Facebook and identified them on the call. The attorney representing Facebook declared they would respect our existing right and registration.
On October 28th, 2021, Facebook decided to commit trademark infringement and call themselves “Meta”.
The letter goes on to make some scathing remarks about Facebook, accusing it of being “a company that continually says one thing and does another,” also alleging that it is “fixated on domination.”
A little over a week ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the arrival of Meta, a singular company brand under which all of its various products are brought together. The name refers to the metaverse Facebook envisions, one that covers everything from its main social media platforms like Instagram to other products like VR and augmented reality.
In his “Founder’s Letter, 2021” Zuckerberg explained that the metaverse he anticipates “will not be created by one company.” Meta’s role in this tech-driven future will, he says, be one in which the company works to:
…accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through our social media apps. We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today, and we will dedicate our energy to helping achieve its potential.
The rebrand comes amid continuing controversy surrounding the social media company, as well its increased loss of teenage users who have largely dubbed the main Facebook platform “Boomerbook.” The company is taking steps to address this change, having noted recently that it will redirect focus to things that younger users want even at the expense of slower growth among older users.
These events bring us back to Meta Company’s accusations and Skulic’s announcement that his company has filed “legal actions” against Facebook over its Meta rebrand. In addition to worries about a negative association between his company and Facebook, Skulic says Meta Company has delayed a product launch over the issue.
“This message,” Skulic says in reference to the publicly published letter, “may be regarded as a public cease and desist order.” Meta Company’s founder goes on to note that it will make an announcement “earlier than we expected” in the coming weeks seemingly about its upcoming product launch, though other details weren’t provided beyond “we promise it will be good.”