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Threads Software Limited (TSL) is a UK-based software company which claims the ownership of the “Threads” trademark since 2012. The company is now demanding a rebranding of Meta’s Threads App within 30 days or threatens to seek an injunction against Meta.
TSL was spun off from JPY Ltd in 2018 and owns Threads, a cloud-based service that centralises digital messages for organisations worldwide. The app was first promoted in the United States in 2014 and its UK trademark predates Meta’s launch in July of this year.
The allegations of infringement developed following contacts between TSL and Meta in April 2023, before the official debut of Threads for the public. TSL denied Meta’s bid to purchase the threads.app domain for £6,000 ($7,273), with the subsequent proposals climbing to £145,000 ($176,000).
TSL’s managing director, John Paul Yardley, claims that Meta was expressly advised that the domain was not for sale. Meta’s Threads app was released on July 5 and before that, TSL’s Facebook profile was removed without warning on July 7 for alleged community standards breaches.
While TSL and its legal experts, including trademark law specialists, acknowledged the possibility of trademark confusion, given the nature of both services dealing with digital communication, it took four months to determine the likelihood of pursuing an injunction against Meta.
John Yardley in a quote said, “We recognise that this is a classic ‘David and Goliath’ battle with Meta.” While they may believe they have the right to use any name they want, they do not have the right to utilise the Threads brand name.
The ultimatum comes as Meta announced during a quarterly earnings call that its Threads program had achieved substantial success, with roughly 100 million monthly users in three months since its July launch.
Yardley emphasises the threat posed to TSL by one of the world’s largest technology corporations and the possible influence on the company’s decade-old brand. Meta had not responded to TSL’s letter as of the time of publishing, showing an ongoing lack of communication between the two parties beyond the unsuccessful domain purchase attempts.
The case highlights the legal difficulties and potential confrontations that can occur in the competitive landscape of trademarks and internet services.