Startup Applied for 'Meta' Trademark Before Facebook

The dispute could be resolved — for a price.

By now, many have heard about Facebook’s decision to change its name to Meta. But there may be a slight issue with the transition. 

The problem is another company has already applied for the “Meta” trademark. And they did it before Facebook, according to Business Insider

The company that beat Facebook to the punch comes from Arizona. The startup, called META PCs, sells computers, keyboards, disk drives and other devices. Its founder, Zack Shutt, said the company filed for the trademark in August. Facebook filed on October 28.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office backs the claim and says Meta PCs began using the brand in November 2020. Neither filing has been approved and both are listed as “live.” 

META PCs has been having some fun at Facebook’s expense on its Twitter account. In a Tweet, a doctored photo shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing to hold a META PCs product. 

Another shows a picture of Zuckerberg and the caption says, “social media manager face reveal. it was me all along. get played.”

Shutt even joked in a video and said META PCs was changing its company name to Facebook. 

Tabloid online newspaper TMZ reported Schutt and co-founder Joe Darger saying they would stand down from the trademark battle if Zuckerberg paid them $20 million, but Schutt did not confirm to Insider the amount or if a proposal was even made. 

A federal trademark grants a company nationwide protection for its brand, but it doesn’t mean a company legally owns any word and it cannot prevent others from using it. 

Meta, formerly Facebook, already has the domain and its handle on Instagram, which Meta owns, reads “wearemeta.”

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