Meta given 30 days to cease using the name Threads by company that trademarked it 11 years ago::undefined

  • Thales@sh.itjust.works
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    9 months ago

    It appears that Meta was aware of Threads before launching its platform of the same name. Company lawyers made four offers to purchase the domain ‘threads.app’ from Threads Software Ltd from April 2023, all of which were declined. Meta announced Threads in July 2023, the same time that the British company says it was removed from Facebook.

    Classic Facebook douchebaggery.

    • PeleSpirit@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      I saw this weird panel for a famous university (can’t remember which one) that interviewed Mark’s wife. She said that they run by everything past Mark for final sign off and also he comes up with a lot of the ideas. This smells like a Mark’s own original idea.

  • Supervivens@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    Eh, unlike some of the other pretty blatantly frivolous lawsuits we’ve seen lately (such as the google chrome cast one) this seems pretty legit. They had a globally recognized company called threads that worked in the software industry and meta had made multiple offers for their IP showing they knew about them and still went ahead. Seems clear cut and Meta will likely have to change the name.

    • long_chicken_boat@sh.itjust.works
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      9 months ago

      you’re right in almost everything

      Seems clear cut and Meta will likely have to change the name.

      Meta has a massive amount of resources, I’m sure they can afford more lawyers than the British company. Courts tend to favor the one with most resources, so the smaller company will have a very hard time trying to make Meta to change their app’s name.

      • gregorum@lemm.ee
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        9 months ago

        Not so much in the UK, but we’ll just have to wait and see. It may just end up that, in the UK, they’ll be called ThreadsUK or some legally-acceptable variant of the name that “meaningfully distinguishes” them according to the court.

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            • Ben Hur Horse Race@lemm.ee
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              9 months ago

              them… Suede the band :) In the US their CD’s are labeled The London Suede cause some kids out in California or some shit were called Suede first and wouldn’t settle for a reasonable amount, so Suede got to keep their name in the states, never saw a penny, and when anyone on this planet mentiones Suede theyre not talking about the american kids waah waaaah

      • Echo Dot@feddit.uk
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        9 months ago

        The UK courts will be inclined to favour the UK company over an American conglomerate. They have to operate within the confines of the law but the British government really do want to show that they can actually act against these big multinationals (they need the win) so there may be quite a lot of interest in this case.

        I can totally see the courts been heavily encouraged to throw the book at them as much as possible.

        • EnderMB@lemmy.world
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          9 months ago

          While you’re absolutely right, there is often an element of appeasing the big US tech companies in London, given that the likes of Meta and Amazon are two of the biggest employers in the tech industry here. Pair this with the fact that we’ve got a large tech industry with very zero unicorns or home-grown success stories with a UK HQ, and I can see some pressure to compromise.

          There’s a reason why FAANG companies barely pay tax here, and it’s often because the threat of packing up and going home would absolutely crush the UK tech industry.

      • oce 🐆@jlai.lu
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        9 months ago

        Pretty sure the original company will accept at a certain price, they just want to put legal pressure to make it rise, which is fair.

    • takeda@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      It should be easy to rename as no one is using it.

      But seriously, this is the kind of bullshit those monopolistic companies are doing all the time. Another infuriating one was with Google’s Go language. Author contacted them that he was using the name for 10 years and even had a book written about the language, but they basically just went with it anyway, because he was nobody and they were Google. Also, this is speculating, but I won’t believe when they came up with the name they didn’t use their Google to look the name up, probably that’s why they closed the issue so quickly.

  • Ghostalmedia@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    I don’t know about UK trademark law, but I would imagine that, like with other countries, using a similar or identical name is okay, but only if you’re in a totally different industry. The original threads is also a messaging product, which doesn’t bode well for a lawsuit.

    I imagine they thought they could just force a smaller company’s hand. Meta’s marketing, e-staff, and legal team are a bunch of corporate bullies.

    • hedgehog@ttrpg.network
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      9 months ago

      Threads is a cloud-based intelligent message hub that captures, transcribes, and organizes all of a company’s digital messages, emails, and phone calls into one easily searchable database.

      B2B is a completely different marketplace than B2C, and “internal search index of company’s digital messages” is a different industry than “social media app.”

      The company’s own trademark registration indicates the trademark applies to “computer software, software and apparatus for the extraction of business information and knowledge.” That doesn’t sound like a social media app to me, either.

      • chiliedogg@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        Both Threads are designed to strip-mine data from messages.

        Zuck’s is just pretending it’s about something else.

    • SuperJetShoes@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      If it’s all in writing you can’t just force another company to do what you want. What you can do is wriggle, twist and delay until it becomes too expensive for the smaller company to continue to pursue.

      However judges are more than well aware of this technique and will allow the plaintiff to accrue costs against Legal Aid (paid for by government).

      So what usually happens:

      1. Small co files against large co for using same name
      2. Large co produces huge response document which is all piss and wind
      3. Small co says they can’t afford the costs to answer each point
      4. Judge permits Small Co to use Legal Aid.
      5. Large co offers to settle. (E.g. you’re a 3 person sandwich shop. They offer you £10m. No more work, no more hassle)

      If Small Co is energetic, young and courageous, they may choose to fight to the death. But Legal Aid has a limit…

  • MNByChoice@midwest.social
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    9 months ago

    It is too bad Meta couldn’t afford a lawyer to do a search for trademarks and copyrights. Really shame.

    • Resolute3542@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      9 months ago

      Did you even read the article??

      It appears that Meta was aware of Threads before launching its platform of the same name. Company lawyers made four offers to purchase the domain ‘threads.app’ from Threads Software Ltd from April 2023, all of which were declined. Meta announced Threads in July 2023, the same time that the British company says it was removed from Facebook.

      They literally made an offer to buy the domain Threads.app 4 times and got rejected.

      • kautau@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        They already planned for this. They’ll settle out of court. It’s pennies to them and a planned business expense, like a fine

  • Treczoks@lemm.ee
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    9 months ago

    I don’t know which concerns me more: That Meta gets their asses kicked, or why the f-ck someone was able to trademark the word “Threads”.

    • ezchili@iusearchlinux.fyi
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      9 months ago

      You don’t trademark the word “threads”, you trademark it within the context of the industry you’re in

      I can make a shop that sells pies and call it “Apple”

    • the_ocs@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      Someone was able to trademark the word “Apple”, so that’s not so surprising

      • chiliedogg@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        Twice.

        And when Apple violated the agreement they made with Apple Music not to enter each other’s industries (Apple Records couldn’t sell tech and Apple Computers couldn’t sell music), they successfully argued in court that iTunes wasn’t selling music, but digital downloads…

          • Gray@lemmy.ca
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            9 months ago

            I always thought it was funny while studying for my Cisco certification that their operating system was also called IOS. I had no idea there was actual drama behind it!

      • Treczoks@lemm.ee
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        9 months ago

        Which, for me, also falls under “why the heck was this legal at any time?”

        • JohnEdwa@sopuli.xyz
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          9 months ago

          Because unless you want every company to be a random Amazon brand or initialism, that’s how it kinda has to be, and it works fine until one company gains so much market share the word starts being associated with only them.
          Think of like, Target or Shell. Both are huge companies, but their fields are narrow. You might confuse a Target named restaurant or pharmacy to be the Target, but probably not much more. And if it doesn’t have anything to do with oil or gas, it’s almost certainly not that Shell.

          Apple is just so huge I wouldn’t be surprised if at this point people think of iPhones while buying lunch. And even they started as “Apple Computers, inc”, because they wouldn’t have gotten just “Apple” if they had tried.

  • Octavio@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    Gosh if only Meta hd money for lawyers, they could squish this like a bug. Oh, yeah. They do have money for lawyers. Tons of it.

      • Octavio@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        I don’t know anything about UK law but in my observations, giant corporations with tons of cash and armies of lawyers solicitors do what they want. I could be wrong but it is just my cynical view, not legal advice.

      • Welt@lazysoci.al
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        9 months ago

        UK has a fairer legal system overall, but Meta will delay, delay, delay to avoid accountability and keep using the Threads name for the next umpteen years, and at some point the original owner of the trademark will settle for a nice payday (though nothing like what they’d win if they beat Meta’s team of lawyers… which won’t happen).

        • aidan@lemmy.world
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          9 months ago

          UK has a fairer legal system overall,

          What??? I suppose it depends on certain contexts, but I wouldn’t say overall. Super injuctions are a very obvious one. Also, just lack of constitutional protections.

    • TwilightVulpine@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      Depressing that people treat money winning over justice as a given. There is realism, and then there’s defeatism.

  • Deftdrummer@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    Fun fact: Google has to pay royalties to Windsor Castle since they had a Keep product first.

  • MrFlamey@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    Well can’t they just call it Meta Threads or Threads by Meta if it isn’t already, and nothing has to change.

    • zaphod@feddit.de
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      9 months ago

      Not an expert on trademark law, but I think “Threads by Meta” would not work as the main part of that name would still be “Threads”, “Meta Threads” could work, but if they’d make the “Meta” part not prominent in the branding then again it would probably be considered as only “Threads”.

      • BigDanishGuy@sh.itjust.works
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        9 months ago

        Not an expert either, and I’m definitely not a lawyer. But I did take an elective class in uni on IPR.

        Generally you can have two types of trademarks. You can use graphics as your trademark or a word. And your trademark must be unique to be defendable.

        The word can’t be something that is already in use, if you want to register it as a wordmark. Ie you can’t register the word “beer” and market beer under that trademark. What you can register is alternative spelling or your logo.

        The word “threads” is a word that was used previously. It has a meaning already. So you can’t register it as a wordmark.

        This is one of the reasons why alphabet really hates that people use the word “google” as a verb, or LEGO that people call the bricks “legos”, as it diminishes the trademarkability of the word and thus makes defending the trademark harder.

        If both companies tries to claim the word “threads” they’ll have a pretty weak case. While I don’t know exactly what this is about, I suspect that the headline doesn’t give the full picture of the dispute.

        • ByteJunk@lemmy.world
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          9 months ago

          It depends. Apple is a valid trademark for a computers/electronics company, despite being a common name. It wouldn’t work if you tried to trademark it as an apple pie brand however.

          I assume whoever owns this threads trademark is in the software business too, they may have a valid claim if so.

          • hedgehog@ttrpg.network
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            9 months ago

            Threads are a software concept dating back to at least 1967, and “software” is such a broad industry that I wouldn’t expect such a generic term to be able to apply to it in its entirety. Given that their (the plaintiff’s, not Meta’s) specific niche is messaging, where “thread” is another generic term (e.g., a “thread of discussion”) it seems doubly problematic as a trademark.

            That all said, this lawsuit is in the UK, and they don’t even have attorneys over there (they have “barristers” and “solicitors”) and I have no clue if the same trademark standards apply.

            In the US, another barrier would be the target audience. Threads by Meta is a B2C social media app; Threads by the Thread Company is a B2B corporate search index for internal messaging. Trademark dilution isn’t relevant - Threads wasn’t a famous brand before - and trademark infringement is based on the likelihood of customer confusion. Is it likely that a business professional - the sort of person who would be purchasing the B2C service - would confuse it with the social media app? I don’t think so, but that’s up to the legal system to decide.

        • Alien Nathan Edward@lemm.ee
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          9 months ago

          would the enforceability of a trademark in this situation not also depend on whether an average person could easily distinguish the meta threads app from the other company? It’s been a while since I took this class and admittedly it was for non-majors but the way it was explained to us is that you can open a used car lot called “McDonald’s”, you just can’t sell burgers or lead people to believe that the burger joint is now selling used cars.

          • BigDanishGuy@sh.itjust.works
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            9 months ago

            Probably, I don’t know, TBH the elective course I took was single week of summer school, 2 ECTS points, passed by attendance. And it was around 2010.

          • BigDanishGuy@sh.itjust.works
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            9 months ago

            Why do you think that so many companies have ordinary sounding names with weird spelling? Sure, it communicates “We’re hip and creative”, but it’s definitely also a trademark thing.

    • reksas@lemmings.world
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      9 months ago

      That would be the sensible approach, but some executive is propably throwing tantrum because of their injured pride. I will be surprised if they just comply.