The brand name Meta does not come cheap for the Facebook group. Although the company officially renamed itself Meta Platforms, Inc., the brand name had previously been used by various companies. Meta Platforms reached an agreement on December 7th with the Meta Financial Group, a US financial institution. In particular, the bank serves customers who are not welcome at other US banks. The Facebook group will initially pay Meta Financial $ 50 million.
In return, the Meta Financial Group transfers all name and trademark rights with “Meta” to Meta Platforms. That goes from a Notification from the financial institution to the US capital markets authority SEC (Security Exchange Commission). Accordingly, it is not the Facebook group, but a company called Beige Key, LLC that did not act as a direct buyer. Opposite to Reuters However, Meta Platforms has confirmed that it is behind Beige Key.
The Meta Financial Group, its subsidiary MetaBank and other corporate divisions will change their names as well as all product names so that “Meta” no longer appears in them. That should cost millions and must be carried out within a year. After the transition is complete, Meta Platforms will have to pay an additional $ 10 million to the financial institution, bringing the total to $ 60 million. That is the equivalent of 53 million euros.
It is a piece of the mosaic in the meta branding project. · Immediately after the renaming of the Facebook group, the company Meta PCs from Arizona became famous: It assembles computers with the components requested by the customer, especially for computer gamers. This is relevant because Meta Platforms also sells hardware. Meta PCs has publicly demanded a $ 20 million transfer fee for its naming rights.
Brand classes and territories
In principle, it is not a problem if several companies use the same brand name at the same time, as long as they do not get in each other’s way – be it because they are active in other countries or are selling different products or services for sale. Brands can also be introduced and used without registration. However, registration makes it much easier to defend your own brand against third parties.
Registrations are made both for certain geographical areas, for example a country or the European Union, as well as for certain categories. In the trademark register of the Office of the European Union for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) there are currently twelve upright entries, which are exactly “Meta”, as well as two registrations. For example, the German company META-Regalbau has secured this brand for classes 6 (metals), 7 (machines and tools) and 20 (furniture). At first glance, this has little effect on the current business areas of the Facebook group.
Even the registration of “Meta” for electronic cigarettes requested from Spain hardly represents a conflict with Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. It is already getting more interesting with the font company Monotype GmbH: They met Meta years ago in grades 9 ( including software and storage media) and 16 (including photographs).
In addition, there are thousands of entries worldwide for word and image trademarks in which meta occurs alone or in combination with other characters – not least the Ukrainian MetaBank. Since Meta’s crypto currency “Facebook Diem” is only supposed to enter the US market for the time being, it remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian trademark rights will become a problem.
TMview, the database of the EUIPN network for intellectual property in the EU, spits out almost 98,000 entries when you enter “meta”. The legal department of Meta Platforms will be busy for years to come, especially since the group is extremely profitable and therefore a popular target for legal action.
Apple versus Apple
A famous example is the recurring conflict between Apple Corps, the company of a former British music group called The Beatles, and Apple, Inc., an IT company from the US state of California. Apple Corps came first, suing Apple Inc. (then Apple Computers) in 1978. The computer company pulled out of the affair in 1981 with what is now a very modest payment of 80,000 US dollars. US Apple pledged never to get into the music business, UK Apple to leave the computer business behind.
But in 1986 US Apple taught its computers to use MIDI and audio recording. The British recognized a violation of the 1981 agreement and successfully sued again in 1989. Another comparison followed in 1991 after US Apple sold computers with pre-installed music, contrary to an earlier obligation. That costs $ 26.5 million.
In 2003 the Americans offered the British one million US dollars for the right to use “Apple” for the online music store iTunes. The British refused, sued, lost, and appealed. In 2007, the Americans finally bought the Beatles company extensive trademark rights, which reportedly cost half a billion US dollars. Apple has only been selling Beatles recordings in iTunes stores since 2010.