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The Margin: One Meta is suing the other, claiming the former Facebook crushed its business

What could be more meta than Meta suing Meta?

On Tuesday, Meta.is, an installation-art company, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against Meta Platforms Inc.
META,
+5.11%
,
the former Facebook, for allegedly infringing on its trademark and engaging in “egregious acts of unfair competition.”

“On October 28, 2021, Facebook seized our META mark and name, which we put our blood, sweat, and tears into building for over twelve years,” Meta.is CEO Justin Bolognino and Chief Strategy Officer Nick Sciorra said in a blog post. “We were as surprised as you were… one of the most powerful companies in the world took our identity without notice.”

After eight months of negotiations, the smaller company said it was left with no choice but to sue, claiming its business has been obliterated.

“As a result of Facebook’s actions, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that META’s products and services emanate from Facebook or that META is affiliated with Facebook. The META mark is now infected by the toxicity that is inextricably linked with Facebook,” Meta.is said in a statement.

Founded in 2010, Meta.is produces “multi-sensory live experiences” in “experiential and immersive technologies,” including virtual and augmented reality, and has a valid federal trademark for its name.

“Astoundingly, Facebook’s due diligence team ignored Meta’s federal registrations for the META mark that expressly identify services ‘using digital, virtual and augmented reality,’” the smaller company said in its lawsuit. It also said the larger Meta is now conducting the same type of immersive digital experiences that the smaller company once staged.

Still, Meta.is knows it’s fighting an uphill battle.

“This case is about Facebook taking accountability for its actions and committing to move forward ethically and equitably in the revolutionary industry that we have all, together, created. This will be an arduous journey,” Meta.is executives wrote.

Meta (the big company) did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.

Meta shares have tumbled almost 50% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s
SPX,
+2.76%

17% decline.

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