Meta in copyright battle for ‘Threads’ after British firm claims trademark of 11 years, gives 30 days notice

Meta was aware of British software firm Threads' existence before launching its own platform with the same name. Its legal team made four offers to purchase the domain 'threads.app' from Threads Software starting in April 2023, but all were declined

Livemint, Written By Jocelyn Fernandes
First Published31 Oct 2023, 10:54 AM IST
File Image: Meta's new app Threads which rivals Elon Musk's X
File Image: Meta’s new app Threads which rivals Elon Musk’s X(AP/PTI)

Threads Software Limited has threatened legal action against Meta over the use of ‘Threads’ for its social media site in the UK, as per a Tech Spot report. Asserting ownership of the trademarked name, the British software firm has given Meta 30-days notice to comply, it added. 

The report adds that Meta was aware of Threads existence before launching its own platform with the same name. Meta's legal team made four offers to purchase the domain 'threads.app' from Threads Software starting in April 2023, but all were declined.

Meta officially announced its "Threads" platform in July 2023, which aligns with the timing of Threads Software being removed from Facebook.

Injunctions Looms

Threads Software has communicated to Meta that it will pursue legal action, seeking an injunction from the courts if Meta continues to use ‘Threads’ after the 30-day deadline. 

The company runs a cloud-based intelligent message hub designed to capture, transcribe, and organize all digital messages, emails, and phone calls for businesses, providing a user-friendly, searchable database. The service was trademarked in 2012 through JPY Limited. 

Threads has been actively promoted worldwide since 2014. Following its first commercial sale in the United States in 2018, JPY Ltd established Threads Software Ltd as a new company. 

As per a statement from the company, Threads Software has subsequently licensed nearly 1,000 organizations worldwide, with sales experiencing growth at 200 percent per year.

David v/s Goliath

“Taking on a $150 billion company is not an easy decision for us to make. We have invested 10 years in our platform, establishing a recognized brand in the name, Threads. Our business now faces a serious threat from one of the largest technology companies in the world,” Dr John Yardley, MD of Threads Software said in a release.

"We recognize that this is a classic 'David and Goliath' battle with Meta. And whilst they may think they can use whatever name they want, that does not give them the right to use the Threads brand name,” he added. 

Notably, the term "Threads" is used by several other organizations, such as the football platform "Thread" and a Slack-style platform called "Threads" from a San Francisco start-up. In a different context, there is also a 1984 British film titled "Threads," which portrays the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Meta's Challenges

Meta's "Threads" amassed 100 million users in just five days. However, a few weeks later, user engagement dropped by 70 percent, and the average time spent on Threads' Android and iOS apps decreased from 19 minutes per day to just four minutes. Despite this decline, new features and Instagram integration were introduced in August.

It's worth noting that Meta has faced copyright infringement claims since rebranding from Facebook in 2021, with a company named MetaX launching a trademark lawsuit last year.

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First Published:31 Oct 2023, 10:54 AM IST
HomeCompaniesNewsMeta in copyright battle for ‘Threads’ after British firm claims trademark of 11 years, gives 30 days notice

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