August 23, 2022

Facebook lawsuit shines light on larger U.S. intellectual property controversy: Smaller company claims Meta name is confusing

Facebook lawsuit shines light on larger U.S. intellectual property controversy: Smaller company claims Meta name is confusing

Eleni Melekou chats with Pacer Monitor to provide some insight on what's going on with intellectual property in the Metaverse.

A small tech company called META sued the former Facebook last month alleging the social media company violated its intellectual property rights with a name change.

The lawsuit, filed by the Pryor Cashman law firm in the Southern District of New York on July 9, alleges that when Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s name change to Meta Platforms on Oct. 28, it caused irreparable injury to META’s brand and business.

“Facebook violated META’s right to use a sign distinguishing its goods and services from its competitors,” said Eleni Melekou, attorney with Pardalis Novahicka in New York. “Facebook used the identical mark of the same services and products. META likely will show consumer confusion and prevail on its trademark infringement claim.”

However, litigation could be hindered by the delay in time in which the legal action was filed, according to Ms. Melekou. META could have initiated litigation within a month of the name change but instead, META waited nearly nine months before it filed suit.

“Since META waited for so long, Facebook could allege that there was an implied or naked license,” she said. “In general, trademark licenses may be inferred, which will be determined in the course of litigation.”

Neither Facebook, renamed Meta Platforms, nor META responded to requests for comment.

In addition, trade secret law has its limitations.

“Not every trade secret can be patented,” Ms. Melekou told PacerMonitor News. “A patent is a new way of doing something or an invention that solves a problem. A trade secret is a piece of valuable business or technological information. In general, a trade secret is a broad category of information and know-how that could not be protected as a patent.”

AIA advocates argue that the law harmonizes U.S. patent law with the laws of other nations by changing U.S. law from ‘first to invent’ to ‘first to file.’

“The AIA was signed into law to improve the process of examination of U.S. patent applications by making the process shorter and more efficient,” Ms. Melekou added. “The slow examination delayed the commercial progress and impeded companies like META from securing its intellectual property rights and enjoying federal protection.” 

Original article published on PacerMonitor

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