Vietnam: Facebook in legal wrangle with local eatery

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A Vietnamese woman who opened a restaurant after raising funds on Facebook has reportedly been threatened with legal action by the technology giant for using their name.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan, who owns the Nang Ganh restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, has been advertising her business as "the first restaurant built on Facebook", Thanh Nien News reports. She managed to raise $30,000 (£18,000) from 160 people by posting her business plan on the social network. "My proposal got 100 responses overnight," Ms Nhan says. " I chose that slogan to pay tribute to those Facebook users."

But Nhan recently got a letter from Facebook's legal representative in Vietnam telling her she was misusing the company's intellectual property and threatening to sue her if she didn't come up with another slogan. Nhan says she was "surprised and embarrassed" by the letter, but she can't revamp her advertising yet as she's already spent a lot of money on signboards, leaflets, bags and menus featuring the disputed phrase.

Facebook says it's worried its reputation could suffer if the restaurant closed. "Facebook is very supportive of local businesses who succeed," says Nguyen Dieu Cam, who heads T&A Ogilvy, Facebook's media representative in Vietnam. But she says combining a trademark with the Facebook name could cause misunderstanding. "If anything happens to the restaurant, Facebook will be affected."

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