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I am programming an app and want to call it "metaApp". Am I getting sued soon by Meta a.k.a. Facebook? Or is the word "meta" a commonly used word and ok? (In the case of Apple, it is also not allowed...)

So can I use the word "meta" for my branding? MetaSoft, MetaHuman, MetaBeta?

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  • What does the app do?
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:21
  • it is a METAverse.
    – Suisse
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:24
  • You can use apple if you do because applet is explicitly-implicitly generic. App element? Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:45
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    What is a "METAverse"? Who is your business competition? Trademark protection doesn't absolutely protect words or morphemes, it is all about a particular sphere. So what does the program do?
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:59
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    @Suisse This is drifting into legal advice. The short answer is that changing the name when asked doesn't absolve you of any damages or unjust enrichment (especially when you publicly admit to doing this on purpose. The long answer would come from a lawyer, who you really should be consulting if you're embarking on a project this size. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 13:53

2 Answers 2

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If you do, you will probably be faced with a lawsuit. If the program did something that they don't do, it might be okay (but hire a lawyer to be sure). Perhaps a plumbing app would be safe. They (Meta) do state that Meta is one of their trademarks, and you can verify that here. That means that they have the exclusive right to use the mark "Meta" in the particular spheres where they operate, namely

G & S: Identification verification services; Online social networking services; Personal concierge services for others comprising making requested personal arrangements and reservations and providing customer-specific information to meet individual needs; Providing access to computer databases and online searchable databases in the fields of social networking; Social introduction and networking services; Social networking services related to sports, fitness, and coaching activities provided through a community website online and other computer and electronic communication networks; User verification services; Social introduction, networking and dating services

as well as

Computer hardware; Application programming interface (API) for software which facilitates online services for data retrieval, upload, download, access and management; Computer peripheral devices; Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality software for use in enabling computers, mobile devices, to provide virtual reality experiences; Software for integrating electronic data with real world environments for the purposes of entertainment, education, communicating; Virtual reality computer hardware; Virtual reality software for use in enabling computers, mobile devices, to provide virtual reality experiences; Motion tracking sensors for virtual reality technology; Motion tracking sensors for augmented reality technology; Digital media streaming devices; Wearable computing devices comprised primarily of software and display screens for connection to computers, mobile devices, and in order to enable virtual reality and augmented reality world experiences; Software for tracking motion in, visualizing, manipulating, viewing, and displaying augmented and virtual reality experiences; Software, firmware and hardware for use in visual, voice, audio, motion, eye and gesture tracking and recognition; Hardware and software for operating sensor devices; Electronic sensor devices, cameras, projectors, and microphones for gesture, facial, and voice detection, capture and recognition; Hardware and software for detecting objects, user gestures and commands; Wireless computer peripherals; Computer software for modifying photographs, images and audio, video, and audio-visual content with photographic filters and augmented reality (AR) effects, namely, graphics, animations, text, drawings, geotags, metadata tags, hyperlinks; Computer software, downloadable computer software and mobile application software for facilitating interaction and communication between humans and AI (artificial intelligence) platforms, namely, bots, virtual agents and virtual assistants; Application programming interface (API) software for allowing data retrieval, upload, access and management; Software for organizing images, video, and audio-visual content using metadata tags; Application programming interface (API) for use in developing AI (artificial intelligence) platforms, namely, bots, virtual agents and virtual assistants; Computer software for sending and receiving electronic messages, graphics, images, audio and audio visual content via the internet and communication networks; Downloadable software, namely, instant messaging software, file sharing software, communications software for electronically exchanging data, audio, video images and graphics via computer, mobile, wireless, and communication networks; Computer software for personal information management, and data synchronization software; Computer software for use in facilitating voice over internet protocol (VOIP) calls, phone calls, video calls, text messages, instant message; Communication software and communication computer hardware for providing access to the Internet; Electronic display screens; Computer peripherals for remotely accessing and transmitting data; Computer hardware for displaying data and video; Computer peripherals for displaying data and video; Software to view virtual images in creating augmented reality; Computer software for setting up, configuring, operating and controlling wearable devices, computers, and computer peripherals; Computer software for accessing, monitoring, searching, displaying, reading, recommending, sharing, organizing, and annotating news, sports, weather, commentary, and other information, content from periodicals, blogs, and websites, and other text, data, graphics, images, audio, video, and multimedia content; Computer software for accessing, browsing and searching online databases; Computer software for accessing, monitoring, searching, displaying, reading, recommending, sharing, organizing, and annotating news, sports, weather, commentary, and other information, content from periodicals, blogs, and websites, and other text, data, graphics, images, audio, video, and multimedia content; Computer software for controlling the operation of audio and video devices; Computer software for creating, editing, uploading, downloading, accessing, viewing, posting, displaying, tagging, blogging, streaming, linking, annotating, indicating sentiment about, commenting on, embedding, transmitting, and sharing or otherwise providing electronic media or information via computer the internet and communication networks; Computer software for integrating electronic data with real world environments for the purposes of entertainment, communicating, and social networking; Computer software for modifying and enabling transmission of images, audio, audio visual and video content and data; Computer software for modifying photographs, images and audio, video, and audio-visual content with photographic filters and virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality effects, namely, graphics, animations, text, drawings, geotags, metadata tags, hyperlinks; Computer software for processing images, graphics, audio, video, and text; Computer software for sending and receiving electronic messages, graphics, images, audio and audio visual content via computer the internet and communication networks; Computer software for sending and receiving electronic messages, alerts, notifications and reminders; Computer software for social networking and interacting with online communities; Computer software for the collection, managing, editing, organizing, modifying, transmission, sharing, and storage of data and information; Computer software for the redirection of messages, Internet e-mail, and/or other data to one or more electronic wearable wireless communication devices from a data store on or associated with a personal computer or a server; Computer software for wireless content, data and information delivery; Computer software to enable accessing, displaying, editing, linking, sharing and otherwise providing electronic media and information via the internet and communications networks; Computer software to enable development, assessment, testing, and maintenance of mobile software applications for portable electronic communication devices, namely, mobile phones, smartphones, handheld computers and computer tablets; Computer software to enhance the audio-visual capabilities of multimedia applications, namely, for the three-dimensional rendering of graphics, still images and moving pictures provided as updates for or in combination with head-mounted display screen devices; Computer software, downloadable computer software and mobile application software for creating, managing and accessing groups within virtual communities; Computer software, namely, an application providing social networking functionalities; Computer software, namely, an interpretive interface for facilitating interaction between humans and machines; Downloadable computer software for finding content and content publishers, and for subscribing to content; Downloadable computer software for viewing and interacting with a feed of images, audio, audio-visual and video content and associated text and data; Gesture recognition software; Software for detecting objects, user gestures and commands; Software for operating sensor devices; Software to view virtual images in creating virtual, augmented and mixed reality; Interactive entertainment software; Location-aware computer software, downloadable computer software and mobile application software for searching, determining and sharing locations; Messaging software; Mixed reality software; Mixed reality software for interactive entertainment; Mixed reality software for navigating a mixed reality environment; Mixed reality software for object tracking, motion control and content visualization; Social assistant software; Software and firmware for enabling electronic devices to share data and communicate with each other; Software development tools; Software driver programs for electronic devices for enabling computer hardware and electronic devices to communicate with each other; Software for advertisers to communicate and interact with online communities; Software for alerts, messages, emails, and reminders, and for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, reviewing, and receiving text, data, audio, image and digital files and display screens; Software for creating and managing social media profiles and user accounts; Software for creating, editing, uploading, downloading, accessing, viewing, posting, displaying, tagging, blogging, streaming, linking, annotating, indicating sentiment about, commenting on, embedding, transmitting, and sharing or otherwise providing electronic media or information via computer and communication networks; Software for creating, managing and accessing groups within virtual communities; Software for creating, managing, and interacting with an online community; Software for integrating electronic data with real world environments for the purposes of entertainment, education, communicating, and social networking; Software for modifying and enabling transmission of images, audio, audio visual and video content and data; Software for processing images, graphics, audio, video, and text; Software for social networking; Software for streaming multimedia entertainment content; Software and firmware for use in visual, voice, audio, motion, eye and gesture tracking and recognition; Software, namely, an interpretive interface for facilitating interaction between humans and machines; Video display software; Computer software, firmware and hardware for use in visual, voice, audio, motion, eye and gesture tracking and recognition; Computer hardware and software for operating sensor devices; Computer hardware and software for detecting objects, user gestures and commands; Computer software driver programs for electronic devices for enabling computer hardware and electronic devices to communicate with each other; Cameras; Wireless computer peripherals; Video receivers; Sensors for monitoring physical movements

and dozens of other also-registered areas.

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    Presumably OK here though: meta.stackexchange.com Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 21:26
  • 11
    Interesting that the list contains the word metadata. That experience is somewhat ... meta Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 21:26
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    Meta as a trademark is coverd, but meta as a comecpt can't be trademarked.
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 22:38
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    @Trish It is covered in the answer, "you will probably be faced with a lawsuit." Meta has a bigger legal department than the full size of OP's startup, they are likely to pursue OP if they do anything remotely close to their operations. While OP can claim that "MetaSoft" is a logical derivative of the Greek prefix and their specific operations but doing so will cost them six digits in legal fees. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 12:58
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    Could you take a step back from 'That means they have exclusive right to use the mark "Meta" in the particular spheres where they operate…' They can claim Meta as a trademark, and can you say why the courts - why any court - will agree? Isn't the real point that the size of your bank balance matters much more than even the spirit of the law? Big business can keep you and I tied up in court for ever… and when it's clear we have a winning case, equally happily stall any court case. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 22:51
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What makes you think it’s either “will I be sued” or “is this a common word”?

First, you can be sued at any time by a large company if you do something they don’t like. Whether they are right or wrong. And even if you win, it will cost you time and money.

Second, it is Meta’s company name so it’s 99.9999% trademarked in the “software” department so there is a good chance that they are in the right.

Personally, it’s not a name I would pick and not a fight I would pick.

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  • If the word "meta" was commonly used in software packages before Meta got its trademark, doesn't that change the analysis? Meta stackexchange was already mentioned elsewhere. There are also numerous open source packages with "meta" in the name, usually related to meta-programming, meta-tags, or something like that with meta in the name. If those packages existed prior to Meta's trademark, then does Meta have any grounds to sue?
    – Brandin
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 14:17

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