Date
22 August 2017
The business is doing well, and Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan was able to pay 80 percent of her investors.  Photo: vietnamesecuisine.org
The business is doing well, and Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan was able to pay 80 percent of her investors. Photo: vietnamesecuisine.org

Facebook threatens to sue Vietnamese restaurant over slogan

Inspired by tales of great fortunes made on the internet, a Vietnamese woman used Facebook to raise funds to open a restaurant.

Her idea clicked. In no time, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan was able to raise US$30,000 from 160 people on the social network, and she opened Nang Ganh restaurant on Tran Quoc Thao Street in Ho Chi Minh City late last year, Thanh Nien News reports.

“Though we have not been open for long, the business has been going smoothly. I’ve managed to pay back over 80 percent of my investors,” she says.

To promote her new business, the netrepreneur described it as “the first restaurant built on Facebook”. She said she chose the slogan to pay tribute to the netizens who supported her business plan.

Facebook isn’t happy about that, however. 

Nhan received a letter dated Aug. 13, 2014 from the company’s legal representative in Vietnam, BMVN, accusing her of misusing Facebook’s intellectual property and threatening to sue her if she doesn’t change the restaurant’s slogan.

Nhan was “very surprised and embarrassed” by the letter because she said breaking the law was the farthest from her mind. After all, no one could accuse her of violating rules on truth in advertising because that’s actually how she was able to establish the shop — through Facebook.

Some suggested she change the slogan to “the first restaurant built on social network”. But that’s not the point: changing all the signboards, bags, menus, name cards, leaflets and other promotional materials with the disputed phrase would result in a loss of about US$9,400.

“Facebook is very supportive of local businesses who succeed,” says Nguyen Dieu Cam, who heads T&A Ogilvy, the company’s local media representative.

But using the Facebook name could cause misunderstanding. “If anything happens to the restaurant, Facebook will be affected,” she says.

The law firm has given the restaurant until Sept. 15 to reply or face legal proceedings. 

Nhan doesn’t want to change her restaurant’s slogan “because it reflects the true story of how the restaurant got started”.

But neither does she want to engage in a fight with the internet behemoth.

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CG

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