Social Media Monitoring

Social Media Monitoring

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Merck FIRST - Who owns Facebook page

How would your company handle this one? Are there any lessons for Google Plus here from this Facebook disaster?
Infos auf Deutsch:,1,print,Disput+-+Facebook+%C3%A4u%C3%9Fert+sich+zum+Streit+zwischen+Merck+und+Merck.html

Merck Germany, Darmstadt had apparently signed a contract with Facebook in March 2010 for its brand page:

A few days back, however, when you clicked on the above you ended up with a page managed and owned by Merck - the company's US rival. Merck & Co. was formed in 1891, but became an independent U.S. company (separating itself from the German mother company) after World War I reparations.

Now the page has been sidelined by Facebook (no longer shows) because of the legal wrangling that is now taking place.
By about Oct. 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 U.S.

Therefore, Merck KGaA has filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The case is Merck KGaA v. Facebook Inc, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 113215/2011.

You find the German company's Facebook page here:


There is still a US page which Facebook now moved to this URL:


What is your opinion, who will win this case?
What reasoning might the judge use?
Will there be other cases of this kind on Facebook and Google Plus?

This case is also interesting because if Merck in Darmstadt, Germany wins, the question comes up how Google will resolve its mess regarding brand and corporate pages on Google Plus?

Anybody can, for now claim any brand page he or she wants on Google Plus. For instance, I decided to take one on behalf of the company that was not yet ready ..... juts to make sure nobody else would.

I imagine there are a whole bunch of cases in the making due to Google's sloppy process management for registering brand pages on its Google Plus.

What you think?

Aldo Gnocchi Aldo Gnocchi

If I were Facebook, I would give the vanity URL to the company that first used the URL

These kind of problems can happen, if someone claims an existing facebook page.

When this person can assure, that he is the responsible person in the company with the registered brand, Facebook will transfer this facebook page.

Now that there are two Mercks - it's plausible that facebook was confused. But as they stated, it's an administrative failure. Normally they check all the documents during the claiming process very mindful.

Aldo thanks for this fast comment!

Aldo Gnocchi wrote:
> If I were Facebook, I would give the vanity URL to the company that
> first used the URL

I think you raised the issue above that I addressed in my post as follows:

"Merck Germany, Darmstadt had apparently signed a contract with Facebook in March 2010 for its brand page."

Hence, the court will now discuss if this contract is valid AND why Facebook than changed administration of the Merck page from Darmstadt to New Jersey - i.e. Merck USA.

If the contract holds up scrutiny (which I think it will) Facebook made an error (PS. it has already publicly apologized for this mistake) and maybe the two companies will find a solution. The name Merck can be used by the US company in the USA and Canada only, everywhere else it uses MSL.

So maybe the page will be viewable from the US and Canada for the US company only and the rest for the Darmstadt enterprise. Who knows I look forward to this solution.
Thanks for the comment.


Thanks for the input and I agree with you - first come - first served would be the option I would follow. We will see

Google is a real challenge and Oga has also raised this issue. I find the Google Plus situation and handling of brand names particularly interesting considering that it already has gotten into trouble regarding blog hosting and not discharging with its duties correctly:

===> Google FIRST - as Blog-Hoster liable - Germany ==>

Maybe this will cause it more headaches. But at the moment Google wants as many people to use its Google Plus including pushing joining when one uses Google search.

Amazing, there is a real battle on here for users ....


thanks for sharing.... my answer is interspersed with yours below.

Olga Henggi wrote:
> I would like to reply re Google +...
> Unfortunately, I don't have an account there but have checked other
> accounts of people I know. Maybe it's my first impression and if I am
> wrong, please correct me. It seems Google + has chosen the well-know
> tactics to accept everyone. I wonder how they check the real
> existence of members or companies. For example, some members use
> different names and different emails... and you sometimes don't know
> whether the person is real or not. I think we have the same situation
> on XING too.

I would reply here that Google probably knows more about most of its Google Plus users. At least these have a Gmail account to be able to sign up. Google might even have their mobile number and much more.
Having said that, however, there might be some people on whose identity is a bit mysterious.

> By the way, it's rather easy to open a company page here, on XING. On
> Linkedin your company should have the URL otherwise they don't
> accept you. It's not fair either.
> What do you think?

LinkedIn is of course obvious, .com is the only thing they keep in mind and anything else such as does maybe not exist. Actually, works not .it or .es for sure. Fair, no but American is it not?