Recently Facebook has announced that the mother company behind its services related to Facebook, Instagram WhatsUp, Oculus will be renamed META.
Apart from all corporate and marketing arguments, it is interesting what the case of trademark protection is. Although company names are registered in relation to the Commercial Law, most of the companies prefer to have an identical mark for the same name.
This is the case with Facebook too. They filed an application for a US trademark META in classes 9, 28, 35, 38, 41, 42, 45.
The main question is to what extent they will successfully register this name.
One brief trademark search for META for the same classes shows that there are 2 988 filed or already registered trademarks for META around the world. That’s a lot.
What’s more, the US company NFT Technology Inc filed an application for META № 97097845 in class 9 – software on the same day when Facebook did that.
It is interesting whether Facebook did a preliminary trademark clearance search and analysis. Taking into account the similarity and identity between the goods and services and the signs that are already registered or filed, there are possibilities for many oppositions if Facebook tries to register such a trademark globally.
In one word, although the proclaimed Metaverse can be a new big space for business and communication, the IP universe can become quite small for Facebook from a trademark protection point of view.
But is it possible for Facebook to be forced to stop using META in case of a conflict?
This depends on many circumstances. If Facebook uses this name only as a corporate name probably there will be no problems. But if the company starts offering products or services under such a mark, it could be an issue taking into account all available earlier trademarks for META.
Time will tell whether trademark conflicts will arise or not. What is for sure is the fact that choosing a trademark for global use is really challenging these days and most likely will become even more challenging in the future.