Facebook wins trademark battle in China
Facebook wins trademark battle in ChinaReuters

Facebook has won a trademark case in mainland China against a company that registered "face book" as its brand name. Chinese law states any multinational company that is recognised globally needs to prove its trademark in China as well.

Facebook's trademark case comes just a few days after Apple lost a trademark fight in China to a company called Xintong Tiandi Technology that sells handbags and other leather goods. The company trademarked the name iPHONE for its leather products in China in 2010. Apple filed the trademark bid for its products in 2002, but it did not receive approval until 2013. Apple plans to appeal against the ruling in China's highest court.

"Apple is disappointed the Beijing Higher People's Court chose to allow Xintong to use the iPhone mark for leather goods when we have prevailed in several other cases against Xintong," said a spokesman for the firm.

"We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People's Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights. We work hard to make the best products in the world and want to ensure our customers' experience is not compromised by companies who try to profit from using our brand," added the spokesperson.

The Beijing High Court ruled the company named Zhongshan Pearl River, which produces potato chips and canned vegetables, should not have been allowed to register the "face book" trademark in 2014, a lawyer involved in the case told the Financial Times.

The court said the company had "violated moral principles" with "obvious intention to duplicate and copy from another high-profile trademark".

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said at the company's first-quarter earnings call that its business in China was "really strong", citing an example of how Air China used Facebook to advertise new flight routes.

Facebook is blocked in China since 2009 but users can access the social network site through virtual private networks (VPNs). Twitter is also widely used in China via VPNs. Other companies such as LinkedIn are allowed to operate in the country in compliance with the country's censorship regime.