Monday, November 28, 2011

Merck Sues Merck for Merck Taking Merck’s Facebook Page

A Dispute That Can Only Happen Now

It turns out that there are two Merck Pharmaceutical companies.  One is based in the United States and the other is based in Germany, and even though they share the same name they are independent of each other and compete in drug markets.  So it is only inevitable that the two companies would clash in court, but the issue is certainly a surprising one.

German drug maker Merck KGaA has asked a New York City court to force Facebook Inc. to explain how the German company lost its page on the social-networking site to U.S.-based rival Merck & Co.

Exactly how one loses a Facebook page is not clear, but what is clear is that this is serious stuff.  Facebook has become so important in a company’s ability to position itself in the market that the loss, or misplacement or the alien abduction of a Facebook page is something worth going to court about.

German Merck's filing on Monday said its Facebook page has been "misappropriated," adding that it wasn't clear how that happened nor who was at fault. The German company's case was brought against Facebook because the Palo Alto, Calif., company didn't provide clear information about what happened, the filing stated.

Okay, now we know that the term for losing your Facebook page to a name-alike competitor is that it was “misappropriated”.  Also it is not sure which laws were broken here, a survey of the Republican candidates for President found that only three of the eight thought that Facebook pages were specifically protected by the Constitution (Article IV, Section 3(a) according to one Presidential aspirant).

And how exactly did it turn out that there are two Merck companies?  Well that was part of the Treaty of Versailles that set the terms for ending World War I.  What, you think The Dismal Political Economist is joking?

The two Mercks became separate companies under the Treaty of Versailles, each owning rights to the Merck trademark in different geographic areas, as part of Germany's reparations after World War I.

Yes, one can imagine the great men of that time sitting in a Parisian palace and discussing how to make two Mercks.  And one wonders was it Clemenceau or Wilson who forgot to settle the Facebook issue.  Keynes was there and he should have taken care of this.

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