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Facebook Threatens To Sue HCMC Restaurant For Using Its Name

In a rare example of intellectual property protection in Vietnam, Facebook has threatened to sue a HCMC restaurant for using the social network’s name in their slogan.

Nang Ganh restaurant, located on Tran Quoc Thao Street in District 3, uses the slogan, “The first restaurant built on Facebook.” Its owner, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan, told Thanh Nien that it doesn’t imply that the social network is involved with her business in any way.

“I called for others to invest in the restaurant on Facebook. I chose that slogan to pay tribute to those Facebook users,” she said.

Nhan said that she after posting her business plan on the social network, she was able to solicit $30,000 in capital from 160 investors.

Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t see it that way and on August 13, Nhan received a letter from BMVN law firm, Facebook’s legal representative in Vietnam, accusing her of “misusing its client's intellectual property.”

“Your use of the Facebook trademark may constitute a violation of intellectual property rights and competition as defined by Vietnamese intellectual property laws,” Facebook’s representative said.

The law firm told Nhan to withdraw her application to register the restaurant’s slogan and gave her until September 15 to comply, warning that it would then begin legal action.

Nguyen Dieu Cam, CEO of T&A Ogilvy – Facebook’s media representative in Vietnam – said this represents Facebook's first such dispute in Vietnam.

As the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership moves closer to fruition, blatant disregard for intellectual property may soon be a thing of the past in Vietnam.

[Thanh Nien]

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