Facebook has won a trademark case in China against a local Chinese beverage company that owned the trademark “face book.”
Zhongshan-based Zhujiang Beverage, which sells products like milk-flavored drinks and porridge, said it registered its trademark, “face book,” or 脸书, (lian shu) in 2011. The company faced objections from Facebook, but gained approval from the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, the country’s trademark authority, in 2014 to use it.
Facebook sued and a court ordered officials to revoke its decision and reconsider the issue. The Chinese firm appealed, but the Beijing Higher People’s Court upheld the initial ruling, it said in a statement.
According to the court, Zhongshan Pearl River, from southern Guangdong province, should not have been allowed to register the trademark.
“It clearly goes against the intrinsic value of trademarks and disturbs the normal trademark registration order… if the applicant applies to register a large number of others’ well-known trademarks intending to seek business benefits by hoarding and transferring them,” said the court statement issued on 28 April, “therefore such acts must be stopped”, it added.
The ruling came after the same court ruled against US technology giant Apple in March in a case over a small maker of leather goods, Xintong Tiandi, using the iPhone name.
Along with other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook is currently blocked to nearly 700 million internet users in China.
During a recent visit to China, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg met with China’s propaganda chief Liu Yunshan as well as fellow media guru Jack Ma in a bid to seek greater access to China.