fb tracking

Faulty trademark cases pits Tiananmen Square protest leader against filmmaker


Twenty years ago, Ling Chai was one of the leaders of the student movement that captivated the world with its stand against the Chinese government in Tiananmen Square. These days, she’s the president and CEO of an educational software company called Jenzabar. Chai, who has prospered in the years since Tiananmen, is now ironically trying to censor the filmmaker who produced Gate of Heavenly Peace, a documentary about the 1989 protest and massacre.

Jenzabar has filed a trademark infringement suit against Long Bow, the filmmaker. Among the claims Jenzabar makes is that the meta tags on the Web Site for Gate of Heavenly Peace violate trademark law because they include the name “Jenzabar.” Public Citizen has stepped in to defend Long Bow. Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy, who specializes in Internet free speech cases, calls Jenzabar’s claims “preposterous.”

Levy blogs about the case on the Consumer Law & Policy blog:

The great irony here is that Chai, who first made her name as a voice for freedom, is now using the money she has made through her software company to attack her critics and keep them tied down in court. One may well wonder whether she retains the free speech values that her customers in the world of higher education demand.

Free speech on the Internet is one of the things we hold dear here at Public Citizen. We’ve represented dozens of bloggers and online commentators in court and have a pretty good record for standing up for the little guy, including this win last year against Wal-Mart and another victory in a case brought by the Republican National Committee against Cafe Press.

You can get a good introduction to our work protecting the First Amendment online in the video above by Valeria Herrador, a student in the Digital Media Department at FIDM. Herrador and other students made videos on some of our issues such as Internet free speech, renewable energy, campaign finance reform and pharmaceutical marketing. See more of the FIDM student videos made for Public Citizen on our YouTube page.