Meta Hit With Trademark Infringement Lawsuit: What to Know

Rachel Curry - Author
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Jul. 20 2022, Published 12:13 p.m. ET

Meta Platforms Inc. (META) made waves late last year when it changed its name from Facebook to better reflect the company’s intent to pursue metaverse development. One company, MetaX LLC, says it has been left in the dust as a result.

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MetaX, which does business publicly as Meta, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Meta Platforms on Tuesday, July 19 for allegedly decimating its small business with the name change.

MetaX says Meta Platforms obliterated it with the name change.

New York-based event management company MetaX launched in 2010 to provide augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) visuals, audio, and effects for events. MetaX has provided services to Coachella and South by Southwest (SXSW), among other well-known occasions. MetaX has also worked with Beeple, the artist behind the most expensive NFT ever sold at the then-equivalent of $28.9 million. The company provides effects that have served to lay “the foundations for the developing, although not yet fully existent, 'metaverse,’” according to the lawsuit.

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MetaX is suing Meta Platforms for trademark infringement, stating the newly named Meta is infringing on its realm of business and steamrolling it along the way. Meta is reportedly venturing into the event space alongside MetaX, though the two have wildly different reaches. MetaX considers itself a small business. Meanwhile, Meta Platforms boasts a global presence and an enterprise value of around $416 billion.

According to the lawsuit, Meta’s decision to rename its business and seep into the event space served to “obliterate” the smaller company of the same name.

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Meta vs. Meta: Digging in to the complaint.

According to the complaint from MetaX, what was then known as Facebook approached the small business in 2017 to discuss a potential collaboration. Facebook wanted to work together to deliver immersive and experiential projects. This was four years before Facebook's rebranding as Meta Platforms.

MetaX declined the offer only to see Facebook morph into Meta years later. Since the name change, MetaX has failed to come to an agreement with the social media giant, essentially forcing it into a lawsuit.

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According to the complaint, “Despite its actual knowledge of Meta, and apparently believing that it could trample the rights of this small business with impunity, Facebook has deployed its almost limitless resources to saturate the marketplace with its infringing META mark. Meta stands no chance against the corporate goliath that is Facebook.”

Does MetaX stand a chance against Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta?

Even MetaX admits the lawsuit is a stretch, but that doesn’t mean it won’t try. The company has dedicated its website homepage to the complaint, stating, “This case is about ensuring the collective protection of rights to our work, innovation, and intellectual property, which we have devoted our lives to building—as we evolve towards a more equitable digital and social future.”

The unfortunate reality for MetaX? Money talks, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms has a lot of it. Regardless, a court could still determine that Meta Platforms has extended its reach beyond reproach by venturing into the event effects space that MetaX has inhabited for about a dozen years. That, however, could put a major wrench in Meta’s plans to create the metaverse it envisions.

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