4 March 2019Trademarks

Facebook accuses Chinese companies of TM infringement

Social media company Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram have taken four Chinese companies to court over trademark infringement.

On Friday March 1, Facebook  announced the lawsuit, in which it  accuses four companies and three people based in China of trademark infringement, and promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers.

Filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the  claim alleged that, since 2017, the defendants have operated a series of websites promoting the sale of fake accounts.

“Defendants also marketed fake and inauthentic accounts for Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, and other online service providers,” said the suit.

Through the marketing of the fake accounts, the defendants have reportedly used Facebook and Instagram trademarks and service marks, and confusingly similar domain names.

Currently, Facebook isn’t allowed in China. Facebook has claimed that the Californian court has jurisdiction because the defendants “knowingly directed and targeted parts of their unlawful scheme” at Facebook and Instagram, which are based in the state.

The social media company has asked the court to prevent the Chinese companies and individuals from creating and promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers.

It’s also asked for an injunction to stop the defendants from infringing the company’s trademarks and from using Facebook-branded domain names to operate their websites. Facebook has requested $100,000 in damages for each of the six websites it names in the complaint.

“By filing the lawsuit, we hope to reinforce that this kind of fraudulent activity is not tolerated—and that we’ll act forcefully to protect the integrity of our platform,” said Facebook in its announcement.

At the time of writing, most of the allegedly infringing domains were still active.

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