Pending 'Friend request' accepted? Facebook wins landmark IP case in China

| Monday, May 9, 2016 - 17:12
First Published |

Facebook wins trademark case in China

Beijing: A Beijing court has ruled in favour of Facebook and against a Chinese company, Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks, which had registered "face book" as a separate trademark, earlier in 2014.
The firm had "violated moral principles" with "obvious intention to duplicate and copy from another high-profile trademark", according to the court's verdict.
Facebook’s progress might be a baby step. However, it might go a long way in clearing the air. It is worth mentioning here that Facebook has been banned in China since 2009. 
During a recent visit to China, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had interacted with China's propaganda chief Liu Yunshan as well as fellow media guru Jack Ma. In what critics described as a publicity stunt to win China's favour, he also went for a run on Beijing's Tiananmen Square despite heavy pollution. Reports even claim that Zuckerberg had started learning Chinese, met the expected VIPs including propaganda chief Liu Yunshan and invited the country’s chief censor to his home in San Francisco, which essentially indicates that the company with a significant presence in the west was pulling out all stops, in order to win over an appealing new market.
Only last week, Apple lost a trademark fight in China, meaning firms that sell handbags and other leather goods can continue to use the name 'IPHONE'. Xintong Tiandi trademarked "IPHONE" for leather products in China in 2010.
Apple filed a trademark bid for the name for electronic goods in 2002, but it was not approved until 2013.
Under the Chinese law, a multinational with a globally-recognised brand must prove that its trademark is also well known within China.
Along with other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook is currently blocked to nearly 700 million internet users in China.

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