Ed, over at Pharmalot, once again has it all — do go read his — but here’s a bit of it:
. . . .The social-networking site blamed an “administrative error” for the problem. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” said a Facebook spokesman.
Facebook’s statement comes a week after Merck KGaA asked a New York City court to force Facebook to explain how the German company lost the rights to the URL Facebook.com/Merck on the social-networking site.
Merck KGaA entered into an agreement with Facebook for exclusive rights to the URL in March 2010, according to the filing. But in October 2011, the German company discovered that its administrative rights had been taken away and the page was instead filled with content from its rival, Merck & Co.
German Merck’s filing, made last week, said its Facebook page has been “misappropriated,” adding that it isn’t yet clear how that happened nor who is at fault. The German company’s case has been brought against Facebook because the Palo Alto, Calif., company hasn’t provided clear information about what happened, the filing stated.
Currently, the Facebook.com/Merck address still shows as though it belongs to the U.S. company. But the URL will soon become unavailable to either company until the two companies mutually agree on who should have rights to the URL, said a person familiar with the matter. . . .
Will Merck & Co. now affirmatively seek to keep the web-portal, as US Merck content?
Will German Merck seek damages? It seems plain that someone affiliated with Merck & Co. (US) affirmatively uploaded the content — and that someone simply had to know that German Merck would view the squatting as wrongful. Stay tuned — for Act II.
We will keep you posted, as German Merck should certainly be able to discover the names of the agents to whom Facebook gave the admin access, back in October 2011, by virtue of its New York Supreme Court filing.
Note: as of 3:45 PM EST, on November 28, 2011 the page in dispute looked like the below screen cap: