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Facebook wins trademark case against “face book”

facebook, trademark case

Facebook has won a Chinese trademark case against a company that registered the brand name "face book", in a sign that Beijing attitudes are softening towards the world's largest social networking site, which is blocked to China's 700m internet users.

Fcebook在中国赢得一家公司抢注"face book"商标案,表明北京对这家全球最大社交网站的态度开始软化。由于Facebook在中国被屏蔽,中国7亿网民无法登陆该网站。

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, has been at the forefront of a charm offensive apparently aimed at prying open the Chinese market.

Facebook创始人马克•扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)一直积极对中国发动魅力攻势,显然为了撬开中国市场。

As well as trying to master the Chinese language, Mr Zuckerberg has entertained China's chief censor at his San Francisco home, met the head of the ruling Communist party's propaganda apparatus and jogged through Tiananmen Square on a badly polluted day.


Any decision to unblock Facebook in China would probably come with strict conditions, in light of how useful the site proved to pro-democracy protesters during the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011. Other foreign internet companies allowed to operate in China, such as LinkedIn, comply with the country's draconian censorship regime.

鉴于2011年"阿拉伯之春"(Arab Spring)革命时Facebook对亲民主示威者起到的巨大帮助,想要解除中国对Facebook的屏蔽,很可能会附带严格的条件。其他获准在华经营的外国互联网企业——如领英(LinkedIn)——都遵守中国严厉的审查制度。

According to a lawyer involved in the case, the Beijing High Court ruled that the Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks Factory, based in southern Guangdong province, should not have been allowed to register the "face book" trademark in 2014. The factory produces food including potato chips and canned vegetables.

据参与商标抢注案的一名律师透露,北京高院裁定中山市珠江饮料厂(Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks Factory)不应在2014年获准注册"face book"商标。这家位于广东省的工厂主要生产土豆片、蔬菜罐头等食品。

Under Chinese law, a multinational with a globally recognised brand must prove that its trademark is also well known within China.


Last week a Beijing court ruled that an accessories manufacturer, Xintong Tiandi Technology, was entitled to use the trademark "IPHONE" despite the widespread popularity of Apple's iPhones. Apple has said that it will appeal against the case in China's highest court.

上周,北京一家法院裁定配件厂商新通天地科技有限公司(Xintong Tiandi Technology)有权使用"IPHONE"商标,尽管苹果(Apple)的iPhone已成为热门品牌。苹果表示将向中国最高法院提起上诉。

"If it was illegal for us to register, why were we allowed to do so in the first place?" asked one factory executive, Liu Hongqun, who said he had not received the court's final ruling. "If Facebook has such an influential brand globally, why can't Chinese consumers access its website?"


Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.


Facebook has focused on trying to recruit Chinese advertisers looking to promote their products abroad, rather than luring Chinese users. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, said on the first-quarter earnings call that their business selling to marketers in China was "really strong", giving the example of how Air China used Facebook to advertise new flight routes including one from Mumbai to Beijing.

Facebook迄今聚焦于招揽那些想要将产品推广到海外的中国广告商,而不是吸引中国用户。首席运营官谢里尔•桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)在第一季度财报电话会议中表示,对中国市场营销者的业务出售"非常强劲",她举例称,中国国航(Air China)运用Facebook宣传孟买到北京等新航线。

Although Facebook is blocked on the mainland, both it and Mr Zuckerberg are well known in China and internet users there can access the site with the help of technically illegal virtual private networks, or VPNs, which allow them to circumvent the country's "Great Firewall". Other blocked sites, such as Twitter, are also widely used in China via VPNs.

虽然Facebook在中国被屏蔽,但该网站和扎克伯克在中国众所周知,中国网民在技术上非法的虚拟专用网(VPN)的帮助下,可以规避"防火长城"(Great Firewall)访问Facebook。通过VPN工具,Twitter等其他被屏蔽的的网站在中国也获得广泛使用。

In another instance of disputed copycatting, a Chinese athletic clothing company called Uncle Martian has denied mimicking the much better known Under Armour brand, despite having a very similar logo.

在另一起争议性的山寨事件中,中国运动服装公司Uncle Martian否认模仿知名品牌Under Armour,虽然两家公司标识极其相似。



"If Facebook has such an influential brand globally, why can't Chinese consumers access its website?"

Sorry, but that's just too funny.



There should be no regulation like this in the first place. 



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