SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a special event announcing a new Facebook email messaging system at the St. Regis Hotel on November 15, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Facebook will launch a new messaging system aimed at enhancing it's social media product to its 500 million users. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo: Justin Sullivan
Photo: Justin Sullivan

Facebook vs. 'face book': Chinese company loses trademark case

Facebook has done what very few American companies have accomplished: It has won a trademark case in China. 

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A Chinese beverage company registered the name "face book," written as two separate words, but a court ruled that the company "violated moral principles" with an "obvious intention to duplicate and copy." 

It's unclear if the beverage company ever used the "face book" name on a product.

The country does have a history of individuals and companies registering foreign brand names as their own, then forcing those brands to pay large sums to use the trademarks in China.  

Under Chinese law, multinational corporations still have to prove that their trademarks are well known in China. 

Last week a court in Beijing ruled that an accessories manufacturer had the right to use the trademark "IPHONE," even though China has been a large market for Apple. 

Facebook's win came last month but is now gaining attention on Chinese social media. 

The social media giant's victory comes as even more of a surprise because the website has been blocked in China since 2009

Facebook's use by Arab Spring protesters in 2011 is one reason why the authoritarian Chinese government isn't likely to unblock the social media platform any time soon. 

But Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, might have developed a relationship with an elite member of the Chinese government. The country's state-run media reported that he met with a member of China's top decision-making body in March.

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