Court says no to ‘Facebook drink’ in China

Chinese people won’t be able to quench their thirst with a refreshing “face book” beverage, after the US social networking company won a rare trademark victory against a local firm in China.

By contrast, Apple Inc last month lost its battle to prevent a domestic company from using the “iPhone” trademark on leather goods in China.

China’s intellectual property protections are often perceived as quite lax but they are steadily improving, lawyers say. The victory may offer a glimmer of hope for Facebook in China, where its social network is not accessible and its business is mainly selling overseas advertising for Chinese companies.

The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court said the Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks application, filed in 2011, to label certain foods and beverages “face book” was an obvious act of copying and harmed fair market competition.

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment. An employee at Pearl River Drinks said the case was not widely known at the company and that the staff member in charge of it was not available for comment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives have made concerted efforts to woo Chinese officials. In March, Zuckerberg had a rare meeting with the country’s propaganda tsar, a suggestion of warming relations between Facebook and the government.
Zuckerberg frequently makes headlines in China, where he has achieved celebrity status by making speeches in Mandarin and sharing pictures of runs through noxious smog in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Facebook had previously objected to China’s Trademark Review and Adjudication Board twice but was unsuccessful, prompting its decision to take the case to court.

Facebook unveils ‘Facebook at Work’ in India

New Delhi, May 10 () Social networking giant Facebook has rolled out its enterprise offering — Facebook at Work — in India that will allow employees of an organisation to collaborate and connect with co-workers.

The programme — at its beta stage — has seen firms like L&T Infotech, Telenor, RBS, YES Bank, Godrej Industries, Paytm, Zomato and Delhivery coming on board.

Similar to Facebook, the enterprise offering allows users to connect with their colleagues, see newsfeed, comment and share posts, create groups and chat using Work Chat.

However, users cannot use their personal accounts to log in and the access is managed by the organisation. So, if an employee leaves an organisation, the login ceases to work and hence, the corporate data stay safe.

Facebook at Work also has no ads or games. The US-based company charges a fee based on number of monthly active users.

“At Facebook, our mission is to make the world more open and connected, and this is also true in the workplace. In a mobile-first world, we want to help people find simpler ways to collaborate and connect with co-workers,” Facebook at Work Director Julien Codorniou told reporters here.

Facebook at Work is not a social networking solution, but a productivity solution, he added.

“Over 60,000 companies globally signed up globally for the pilot. Of these, we have already got 450 companies on board. These include different sectors from banking, telecom, travel, retail and real estate,” Facebook at Work Asia-Pacific Head Ramesh Gopalkrishna said.

He added that several companies in India like L&T Infotech, YES Bank, Godrej Industries, Zomato as well as start-ups like Delhivery, Practo and Paytm have started using Facebook at Work with employees as well.

Gopalkrishna, however, declined to comment on the number of users for Facebook at Work.

“India is one of Facebook at Work’s top countries and our teams will start testing the solution with more companies… Facebook is focussing on adding companies with 5,000-10,000 employees before opening the platform,” he added.

Of Facebook’s over 1.62 billion global users, over 142 million come from India.