Facebook Secures Trademark Victory In China Following Apple’s Embarrassing Loss

A court in Beijing has ruled in favor of Facebook in an ongoing trademark dispute with Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks, a Chinese beverage company that registered the term "face book" in 2011. Even though Facebook objected, China's Trademark Review and Adjudication Board ended up approving the "face book" trademark in 2014.

Facebook was none too pleased with the trademark authority's decision, and after getting nowhere with the agency, the social network took the matter up with the Beijin court. The court sided with Facebook in its original lawsuit. Zhongshan filed an appeal, but in its most recent ruling, the Beijing court upheld the ruling.


It seems like a cut and dry case, though part of Zhongshan's defense was that Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009.

"How many Chinese customers get access or sign up for Facebook in mainland China? Where can we get access to this product in mainland China?," Liu Hongqun, marketing manager of Zhongshan, told The Wall Street Journal.

Hongqun also pointed out that intricate masks called "face books" are commonly used in traditional Chinese operas. Nevertheless, the Beijing court ruled against the beverage company, handing the U.S. firm a victory when they're not always easy to come by. That's something Apple found out when it recently lost a trademark dispute over its iPhone brand.

In that case, a company that sells luxury leather accessories such as smartphone cases, wallets, and purses was granted the right to continue using the "IPHONE" name, which it displays in all caps on its products. Apple retained the iPhone trademark for mobile devices, but was not successful in plucking it from Xingong Tiandi for other items.