" ITREALMS: German coy loses Facebook page to US rival


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

German coy loses Facebook page to US rival

Germany’s Merck KGaA has threatened legal action after losing its Facebook page to a United States (US)-based rival Merck & Co, reports TechWorld.

Merck said it intends to initiate an action based on the apparent takeover of its Facebook page by its similarly named but unrelated competitor, Merck & Co.

The filing reflects the growing importance of social networks as marketing tools, with companies willing to go to court to safeguard their perceived rights on these networks.

Because Facebook is an important marketing device, the page is of great value, and its misappropriation is causing harm to the company, said Merck KGaA in the filing.

The company in Darmstadt claims to be the oldest and one of the largest producers of pharmaceuticals and chemicals worldwide.

The Facebook page contained on Friday information on the American Merck, which is described as “a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well.” The site is said to be intended only for residents of the United States and its territories.

On September 16, it carried a post welcoming users to “Merck’s official Facebook page!”
Merck in Germany said in the filing that it entered into an agreement with Facebook on or about March, 2010 for the exclusive use of the web page. 

Merck said it assigned administrative rights to the web page to a limited number of people, who are its employees, or its external service provider for registration of domain names and social media user names.

By about October 11 this year, Merck Germany said it found that it no longer had administrative rights to the page which now had content that appeared to be “created by, and is related to” Merck & Co in the United States (US).

Remmy Nweke with agency reports.

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