Meta sees off another logo complaint from blockchain player Dfinity
What would possess a nonprofit to go after Mark Zuckerberg's empire?
Dfinity Foundation's lawsuit against Meta over their logos is probably the most publicity the "infinite blockchain" outfit has received, but the extra attention is over for now after a judge dismissed the complaint with prejudice.
In the likely event you were wondering who Dfinity are, the nonprofit says: "We aim to create a 'blockchain singularity' in which every system and service is rebuilt and reimagined using smart contracts and runs entirely from infinite public blockchain without need for traditional IT."
Now, you may be wondering why a nonprofit R&D team would pit its lawyers against the might of Mark Zuckerberg's Meta. It's a good question, but if you clicked either of those links, you may have noticed the logo – a multicolored infinity symbol. Uh oh.
The complaint stretches back to April last year, when Dfinity alleged trademark infringement [PDF] in the Northern District of California, arguing that its trademark registration was accepted in 2018 "as an infinity symbol with the word 'DFINITY' under the symbol." It also said that "color is not claimed as a feature of the mark, and thus Dfinity's ownership extends to color variations." Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021.
"Therefore, we're coming for you, Zuck," was the upshot on the basis that "Meta and Dfinity seek to attract the same users, namely those who are looking for an innovative and different internet experience," and "the similarities between Meta's mark and Dfinity's mark, and Meta's intended use of its mark in the same space and through the same customer base as Dfinity, will cause confusion."
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So on, so forth. Meta says its logo "can resemble an M for 'Meta,' and also at times an infinity sign, symbolizing infinite horizons in the metaverse" and filed a motion to dismiss the suit, to which Judge Charles R Breyer obliged in November, ruling [PDF] that it was "implausible" that a customer "would look at these dissimilar marks and be actually confused between Dfinity's and Meta's products." He also added that Dfinity's customers are "tech-savvy developers" who are unlikely to confuse services from the artist formerly known as Facebook with the ones provided by the platform.
However, he granted Dfinity leave to amend the complaint, which the company did the following month. Both parties now agree the case should be dismissed, which it was [PDF] this week, with prejudice, meaning the claim can't be brought to the court again. Both will have to pay their own attorneys' fees, expenses and costs related to the action, which isn't a great use of time or money for a nonprofit.
The Register has asked Meta and Dfinity to comment.
It's not just the logo, either. Meta is still facing trademark suits from VR company MetaX and investment firm Metacapital after its name change.
Trademark lawsuits can be really silly. We're reminded of Apple's famously zealous pursuit of any company that deigned to use a fruit as its logo, like the Prepear meal planner and grocery list app, which, we note, is still using its decidedly non-Apple logo.
We daresay perhaps there is not much wisdom in attempting to trademark a symbol that has been used by humans for hundreds of years. ®