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Facebook Denies Disputed Page To Both Mercks

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the virulent-pox-on-both-your-houses dept.

Facebook 210

itwbennett writes "In follow-up to yesterday's story about how Merck in Germany is threatening legal action to take its vanity Facebook URL back from Merck U.S., Facebook apologized for its 'administrative error' in reassigning the URL but said that if the two companies can't play nice, no one will get the URL."

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To which a Merck U.S. representative replied... (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202824)

Here, drink this soda and see if you still feel that way.

Difficult problem (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202848)

This is a Mercky issue to wade through...

Re:Difficult problem (5, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202896)

I get the joke, but it's actually really easy one. It obviously belongs to the German company that originally registered it on Facebook. Why does US companies think they can thump on everyone else?

Re:Difficult problem (5, Insightful)

NotSanguine (1917456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203060)

It just goes to show what an agreement with Facebook is worth.

Re:Difficult problem (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203162)

Oh, I'm sure that Facebook stuck to the letter of the EULA, which, without doubt, says that Facebook can do whatever they want now, and if you argue about it, they can change the EULA retroactively at will such that there's no question at all about the matter.

Re:Difficult problem (4, Informative)

NotSanguine (1917456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203350)

Oh, I'm sure that Facebook stuck to the letter of the EULA, which, without doubt, says that Facebook can do whatever they want now, and if you argue about it, they can change the EULA retroactively at will such that there's no question at all about the matter.

Apparently, the German Merck entered into an agreement with FB in March 2010 (cf. Original Story/a) [techworld.com.au]

Re:Difficult problem (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203106)

At this point, it does not obviously belong to the German company because we do not know how control ended up in the hands of the U.S. company. It is possible that someone with the German company who had been designated to Facebook as the "administrator" did so. Obviously, it is more likely that someone at Facebook turned administrative control over to the U.S. company (probably because they did not realize there were two pharmaceutical companies with the same name and assumed that the representative of the U.S. company was the representative of the company that originally registered the name--it is even possible that the representative of the U.S. company did not realize that they were taking control from the German company when they did this).

Re:Difficult problem (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203164)

Under current precedent and what not it is more along the lines it belongs to FaceBook to lease out who whoever. The German company merely requested it first.

Re:Difficult problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203564)

Indeed, if anything has come out of this it's the growing realisation that companies attribute real value to owning the name on Facebook. I don't know if Facebook currently charges companies for accounts but this seems like another revenue stream (i.e. selling names off to the highest bidder). I wonder how much Pepsi would pay for Coke's FB.

Re:Difficult problem (4, Informative)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203666)

Revenue stream, yes. Pepsi pay for a "Coke" vanity URL on FB? Unlikely. Courts have already determined some rights to trademark names in URLs - though Pepsi still has to pay the regular registration fee to use "pepsi.com", a competitor attempting to misuse their trademark would likely lose the domain in a court battle, as has happened in the past.

Their lawyers wouldn't let them even try it.

Re:Difficult problem (5, Insightful)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203198)

It obviously belongs to the German company that originally registered it on Facebook

No, it obviously belongs to Facebook (or at least as much as facebook.com belongs to Facebook, except that isn't quite as clear). Whatever Facebook decides to do with it, is defined as the right answer.

Trademarks still exist (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203656)

Facebook is still subject to national jurisdictions, and trademark law still restricts what Facebook is allowed to do with its own domain. Perhaps the most legally justifiable answer might be to geolocate the IP address, find the correct trademark owner for a given country, and then redirect to MSD's or EMD's Facebook page as appropriate.

Re:Trademarks still exist (4, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203956)

Except that Facebook is still private property. They don't have to let you promote your trademark on their site any more than a company could force you to paint their logo on the side of your house.

Denying both companies access to the name on Facebook is a completely viable and legal means to not infringe on any trademark.

You may also want to brush up on trademarks a bit. It is possible to have the same trademark for different industries, and one does not trump the other. Say for example, I have a registered trademark for Apple toothbrushes. I am free to promote my trademark, even if Apple computers doesn't like it. Granted it does get even murkier when industries are similar across international boundaries, but one trumping the other is still a tough argument to make.

In the end it is very funny that Facebook basically give a timeout to two companies acting like two year old children.

Re:Difficult problem (4, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203210)

Neither of the Merck companies bought it, so it belongs to FaceBook. And the terms&conditions when registering the name includes provisions for not infringing others trademarks, and for Facebook to take back the URL for breaching the T&Cs.

Facebook is doing the sensible thing here. The company names are distinguishable - Merck KGaA and Merck and Co. Given that neither is called just "Merck", it makes sense to make them use distinguishable pages, probably with their full company name.

Better yet is if Facebook could put a page at FaceBook/Merck with links to both companies new vanity URLs.

Re:Difficult problem (5, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203396)

So you're suggesting a Disambiguation page?

Re:Difficult problem (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203252)

Because facebook is a us company, and merck has a lot of money for lawyers, which is how these things are sorted out.

Re:Difficult problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203274)

we were not nazi collaborators?

Re:Difficult problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203750)

Perhaps, but I can understand why Facebook isn't inclined to favor the German one considering the whole court filing thing...

Using lawyers is an ineffective way to make friends.

you go FB! (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202872)

wise like king Solomon.

No, I can't believe it either.

Re:you go FB! (5, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202996)

Solomon's solution would be give one of them the "Mer", and the other one "ck", and then instantly void the deal and give it to whoever doesn't want to see the name split.

Re:you go FB! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203052)

Why one of them would get the 'r' rather than an other?

Re:you go FB! (1)

qpqp (1969898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203180)

Because 'rck' is more difficult to pronounce than 'Mer.'

Re:you go FB! (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203648)

Because 'rck' is more difficult to pronounce than 'Mer.'

The baby ostrich that Foghorn Leghorn adopted seemed to manage it without too much difficulty.

Re:you go FB! (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203300)

Because, since it is the both companies' unofficial Mission Statement, neither CEO would tolerate letting the other have "Me".

Re:you go FB! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203448)

Well the better way would to give one the name Merc and the other Merk or Erck, that way they would each have 80% of the baby. I'd like to see Solomon manage THAT!

Re:you go FB! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203494)

wise like king Solomon.

  No, I can't believe it either.

They go, not!

Merck Germany had it first so your solution is to not return it to them after an administrative error? Two wrongs don't make a right

King Solomon would have offered to cut it in half, but I'm not quite sure how you'd do that.

Re:you go FB! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203948)

wise like king Solomon.

  No, I can't believe it either.

They go, not!

Merck Germany had it first so your solution is to not return it to them after an administrative error? Two wrongs don't make a right

King Solomon would have offered to cut it in half, but I'm not quite sure how you'd do that.

It works just fine. I'm sure the real mother had the child first. The debate was who would be the better mother, not who had it first. They could go by which company was founded first if you want to go by the birth argument over who would be the better mother (which Solomon's solution finds).

It doesn't change the outcome though. There will be a prolonged international court battle over a Facebook name, during which neither company can use that address (if one did, the other would push for an injunction). I wonder if they will just get used to using alternate addresses or if they will deny themselves the presence over a single address.

Re:you go FB! (1, Flamebait)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204138)

We should be fuckin' happy that the two bitches in the story weren't corporations, or we'd have had to deal with a dead baby and Solomon would be known as the king who ordered a baby to be split in half.

Trademarks? (3, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202876)

Fantastic, so now Facebook has the right of determining valid trademarks, on top of all the personal data it collects. I may be cynical here, but I get the feeling that 'playing nice' will involve the largest payment in combination with the best legal team.

Re:Trademarks? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202888)

Look, if they didn't want their trademarks appropriated they shouldn't have gone to war with us 93 years ago.

Re:Trademarks? (2)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203464)

Just wait 'till Russia gets a say in this.

Re:Trademarks? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202984)

It's not a trademark issue. Whether they do business with a company is Facebook's choice.

Re:Trademarks? (5, Interesting)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203020)

Fantastic, so now Facebook has the right of determining valid trademarks, on top of all the personal data it collects

It's is Facebook's namespace (and you can have on too, right now, if you want). They get to decide whether or not trademarks are even relevant within this namespace, let alone top priority at the expense of all other concerns. Why would it be anyone else's decision?

Just because some random arbitrary private namespace out there happens to get popular, doesn't mean the rest of society needs to "officially" recognize it, legitimize it, adopt it, regulate it, or take it seriously. It's just a pathname component in someone's website, and it's their site, just like a hypothetical "Apple" directory on my computer which contains a file called "Disney" is my file in my directory on my computer, and no one else deserves .0000001% say in the matter.

When today's fools finally learn this, then they won't be afraid of new TLDs, BTW.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203200)

Ermmmm... no. Sorry. You can have a folder on your computer named Disney; you cannot put up a billboard on your own property using the name Disney to advertise something.

Re:Trademarks? (0)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203282)

You should watch with the arrogant phrasing when your point is so stupid. It makes you look twice as foolish.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203422)

You can, unless it interferes with Disney's business. Trademarks are not absolute.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203838)

And in this day and age, when a lot of people effectively think of the web as being equivalent to Facebook, I'd say that this infringes.

But - it'll be the lawyers who figure it out in the end; whoever throws the most money at the problem will wind up with it.

(PS: Go ahead and try putting up a billboard with the Disney name on it on your own property, and see what happens...)

Re:Trademarks? (5, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203436)

Yes, but you can put up a billboard and refuse to let Disney by space on it. Facebook isn't using the trademark improperly, merely refusing to let either side use it. This makes perfect sense for Facebook. Whichever one it would have sided with, the other would have sued them. If it lets neither use the name, there's nothing they can do.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203554)

forkfail just pulled a trademark fail.

Back to school for you.

Re:Trademarks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203826)

Elucidate, dumbass. How?

Re:Trademarks? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203808)

No, but if I have a directory on my webserver called www.mysite.com/disney, Disney has no say in what I put there. If I start putting their trademark stuff in my directory and sharing it to the world, then they can do something about it... just having the directory doesn't mean anything. Maybe it's my tirade about how much I hate Disney. Now if two companies both own the trademark Disney (which is perfectly legal if they're in different fields or different jurisdictions as is the case here), I can freely rent that space to either Disney and the other one can't do anything about it. This is not me putting up a billboard on my property to advertise myself using the Disney name, this is another company, who also own the trademark to the name, renting the space with that name on my property to advertise themselves.

There are two Mercks. Both have an equal right to use the Trademark. Facebook is well within their rights deciding who gets to have the word in their namespace.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204038)

There is no company that trades under the name "Merck" ...

One is
Merck & Co., Inc/Merck Sharp & Dohme or MSD

One is
Merck KGaA/EMD Chemicals

Both use just the word Merck in their logo ...

They both have equal rights to the name on Facebook: no right to use, trademark right to stop the other ...

Re:Trademarks? (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203232)

Pretty sure lawyers would argue otherwise, along the lines of hampering their ability to maintain brand awareness, do business etc etc.

You're comparing apples and oranges, the page central to the conflict is nothing the same as having a directory of a certain name, many firms are now using Facebook actively as an advertising tool - social business or whatever the latest buzzword for it is. In this sense, there is a very real legal dispute being raised. It's a dull and uninteresting one at face value, but a legitimate one no less.

They're a competing company in the same industry, they have every right to actively pursue their trademark and business interests. Just because it's a Facebook URL rather than a TLD URL doesn't mean that it doesn't matter; on the contrary since Facebook has been openly whoring itself out to corporate interests for a bantha's age now.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203236)

It should potentially be regulated because when that private namespace becomes ubiquitous it has much more power than the namespace on your computer, which frustrates just you. For precedences, look at the telephone system, with it's ubiquitous namespace.

Re:Trademarks? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203408)

For precedences, look at the telephone system, with it's ubiquitous namespace.

I didn't know you could trademark a sequence of numbers.

Re:Trademarks? (4, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203074)

Makes one wonder what a Facebook account is really worth to a company (or pop group, or artist, whatever). On the one hand, the option of gaining & holding customers, and do lots of PR through the social network, on the other hand the possibility that at any time, if someone with same name (competitor?) creates a dispute about it, Facebook might close the account for no good reason.

Who needs hackers for a DoS attack when Facebook could do the job for you?

Re:Trademarks? (2)

reasterling (1942300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203978)

Who needs hackers for a DoS attack when Facebook could do the job for you?

So quit relying on other peoples web sites and get your own. Really, we have two pharmaceutical companies fighting over a stupid facebook account. If I was them I would be too embarrassed to even admit that I had a facebook account.

Re:Trademarks? (3)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203160)

"Facemarks"

Re:Trademarks? (2)

NotSanguine (1917456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203168)

Fantastic, so now Facebook has the right of determining valid trademarks, on top of all the personal data it collects. I may be cynical here, but I get the feeling that 'playing nice' will involve the largest payment in combination with the best legal team.

According to the original report [techworld.com.au] :
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.

As I said above, it just shows what an agreement with Facebook is worth.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203604)

US law trumps Facebook. US law says Merck & Co owns the rights to the word 'Merck' as related to pharmaceuticals in the US. Facebook had no right to give that page to Merck in Germany, so the agreement is meaningless. It may well be that German law says Merck in Germany owns that word in Germany. Since there is no way for Facebook to resolve this, they did the sensible thing and said no-one gets that page.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203676)

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.

As I said above, it just shows what an agreement with Facebook is worth.

What genius at Merck read Zuckerberg's backstory and said to himself, 'Now here's a guy we can trust!'?

Re:Trademarks? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203186)

This happens a LOT in the software business. Google is trying to sort out which maps to show to which people based on 'official' boundaries (which may or may not reflect actual boundaries, and some boundaries are not filed with the UN publicly so who the hell knows where they are). I worked on a game recently where we were trying to figure out the official border between france and germany at a particular point in time, the area in question has changed hands something like 17 times. 6 guys in a basement were asking very serious questions like the legal status of egypt and sudan under Britian (and how to model that?) the legal status of Taiwan (and whether that meant our game would get banned in China, and whether or not we cared). There are lots of messy legal areas you sometimes have to pick something and role with it.

Facebook only has one facebook.com/yourname url to give out, and honestly, they don't want to be involved in the fight over who is more Merck than the other, that's why they're telling them both to sort it out themselves. Facebook has no idea who has a more valid claim to the name, and, this is of course muddied by them being in separate areas. Facebook might have to oblige the US trademark for the US branch of the company in the US, and the european version in Europe or just have to oblige the US version or, well, who the hell knows? There's no winning answer here. They may have signed a contract, but my suspicion is that the contract would only be valid if Merck (gmbh) was the legal trademark holder, which, depending on the circumstances, it might not be.

Re:Trademarks? (5, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203734)

There's no winning answer here.

Sure there is: the winning answer is to not use Facebook.

Re:Trademarks? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203864)

Not for either of these two companies. There are 800 million facebook users, 400 million of which are accessed daily. If you want an advertising base, that would be it.

When you're in the customer service business you aim to connect to your customers how *they* want to connect, not how you think they should be connecting to you.

Re:Trademarks? (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203848)

If your trademark is part of a URL controlled by Facebook, then that's too bad. Yes, Facebook does have the control here. If Facebook removes the face book.com part, the URL is gonna be pretty useless.

That's a rather stupid "solution" (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202878)

So, Facebook screws up, and now it's up to the original URL holder to "play nice" and let someone else squat with them? Keep it up Facebook - you're just giving us yet another reason to show that you don't "get it" on so many levels.

What next - people with their names as facebook urls having to "play nice" with others with the same name who come later?

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202898)

Well it's an improvement. MySpace's policy was to straight up give the URL to the better-monied party.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203040)

And what would you do, then? It's not like it can magically decide which of the two companies you want to see when you input the URL.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (4, Interesting)

Lord Crc (151920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203104)

And what would you do, then? It's not like it can magically decide which of the two companies you want to see when you input the URL.

I'd do what Wikipedia does, turn it into a disambiguation page, listing all relevant pages.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203582)

I think so far you are the only one with a better solution than Facebook's one.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203706)

But then who decides which pages are "relevant" and deserve to be on the list, and in what order? Otherwise, Facebook turns into Google, having to somehow rank its results for display ten at a time.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203856)

Sort alphabetically by company name. That was easy.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203938)

But with hundreds of companies sharing a similar name (e.g. MERCK & CO INC and MERCK KGAA), what's to stop a company in a less-developed country with less-developed trademark law from asking for a spot on the page in the name of MERCK & AARDWOLF AB?

A sensible solution to a stupid problem (2)

janeuner (815461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203194)

In this chapter, we have two private corporations fighting over a subdirectory owned by a third corporation.

All of these "people" are insane.

Re:That's a rather stupid "solution" (1)

Slyfox696 (2432554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203264)

So, Facebook screws up, and now it's up to the original URL holder to "play nice" and let someone else squat with them? Keep it up Facebook - you're just giving us yet another reason to show that you don't "get it" on so many levels.

What next - people with their names as facebook urls having to "play nice" with others with the same name who come later?

Here's an idea. Don't use Facebook at all. If you don't like the way Facebook decides who gets what name, create your own website, build your own user base, and then you can name the folders within your website however you wish. Problem solved.

This is awesome (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202884)

Two companies have just been bitch slapped for getting uppity about a common name in world market. How many other inane intellectual property disputes could have been resolved or prevented by doing this?

Re:This is awesome (2)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203134)

I don't see how this is awesome. Bobby had a toy, Jimmy came along and told the teature. "I want that toy!" The teacher took the toy from Bobby and gave it to Jimmy. Bobby cried "That's my toy! I'm telling Mommy!" The teacher responded by taking the toy away and not giving it to anyone.

So rather than responding by acknowledging that they were wrong in taking the address away from the German Merck, they act like they're in the wrong for complaining.

Re:This is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203356)

Your analogy is faulty because Merck KGaA never really owned the Facebook vanity URL. In other words, the toy never belonged to Bobby - it was a classroom toy (i.e. school-owned) that Bobby happened to be using. It is a perfectly acceptable solution for the teacher to take the toy away if the kids can't share or get along because THE TOY BELONGS TO THE SCHOOL/TEACHER.

Re:This is awesome (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204096)

Your logic and reason have no reason in this argument, regardless of the fact you are correct. This is a conversation about trademarks and Facebook.

Please wave your arms wildly and scream incoherently, just like everyone else.

Re:This is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203578)

More like Bobby existed and then Bobby was born, and since it was too fricken confusing, everybody called the first one Smith and the second one Johnson.

If you read the history of Merck this is more like a family feud then a trademark dispute. It would be more appropriate for Merck (Germany) to be called "Merck KGaA", "Merck Darmstadt" or "EMD Chemicals" (note, EMD Chemicals is their legal name in the USA where Facebook is headquartered).

Merck in the USA should probably be referred to as "Merck & Co.", "Merck Sharp & Dohme" or "MSD". Merck & Co. owns the rights to the name Merck in the USA, which is why Merck KGaA is referred to as EMD Chemicals within North America.

All of this information is taken from the Merck KGaA and Merk & Co. pages on wikipedia.org.

Merck Merger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202890)

I wonder why these companies didn't merge back together. I understand why they would be sepperate after the world wars. But currently these companies are in the same buisness with the same name.

Re:Merck Merger (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202930)

Yes, because it makes absolutely sense to merge companies just for the sake of Facebook URL!

Re:Merck Merger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203090)

Well, they USED to be the same company until their US assets were seized during WW1.

How about: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202928)

The Merck that had the page first?

Re:How about: (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203012)

Nonsense! That wouldn't be evil to do.

Re:How about: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203054)

But that would be the non-US Merck. Can't let those filthy foreigners win. USA! USA!

Translation: (3, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203064)

Letting the bidding begin!

I propose... (2)

PGGreens (1699764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203092)

cutting the URL in half! Then we will see who it truly belongs to.

Re:I propose... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203452)

Problem is, with two shorter URLs both companies would win.

What's all this Facebook craze anyway? (3, Interesting)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203110)

Really, wtf? Both companies have more than enough resources to set up their own domains and webpages where they can do whatever they want, without any kind of interference whatsoever. Why would they need to be on Facebook at all when they can have their very own place on the Net? This Facebook craze is going waaaay too far, IMHO. Individuals who don't want to or can't set up their own domains can go with it, no problems, but big companies?

Re:What's all this Facebook craze anyway? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203212)

Because that is what the marketing firm told them to do.

Re:What's all this Facebook craze anyway? (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203268)

The Facebook craze has a lot of power behind it. Companies respond primarily to power, and spend millions on their public images, so this is hardly surprising.

Re:What's all this Facebook craze anyway? (3, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203290)

For a lot of people, Facebook is the web.

And having someone "like" a company means the opportunity to get them to read several bits of advertisement a day - voluntarily, without the popups that so annoy.

Not saying it's a good thing, just that it's the way things are at this time.

Re:What's all this Facebook craze anyway? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203820)

You can Like any page, not just FB pages. You just put a button on your site.

Re:What's all this Facebook craze anyway? (2)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203910)

For a lot of people, Facebook is the web.

So, what you're saying is that Facebook is the new AOL?

ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203120)

Facebook is clearly giving precedence to american based companies. This is as retarded as it sounds, of course the original german company has all the rights to it. First you screw up and now you also, as a 'we're sorry' i suppose, give away the vanity name ?

ok...

Re:ridiculous (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203240)

This is as retarded as it sounds, of course the original german company has all the rights to it.

Why? If two companies own the same trademark in different countries, why should one have the rights to a facebook page and not the other?

Either they work it out themselves or they'll have to go to court to decide who does have the rights. That will probably take years, and by then facebook will probably be the new myspace.

Re:ridiculous (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203306)

Pretty sure Facebook has all the rights to Facebook.com/*anyname* and always will.

If they want to sell/give it to the highest bidder, or the american branch of a company, or the Mars Rover, they can.

Re:ridiculous (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203716)

Pretty sure Facebook has all the rights to Facebook.com/*anyname* and always will.

If they want to sell/give it to the highest bidder, or the american branch of a company, or the Mars Rover, they can.

I am pretty sure that if Facebook had given it to another pharmaceutical company (say Sanofi-Aventis) there would have been a trademark infringement lawsuit that they would have lost. Which I suspect brings up why Facebook made this decision. In the U.S. and Canada, the trademark "Merck" belongs to Merck, U.S.. In most of the rest of the world, the trademark "Merck" belongs to Merck KGaA. Since Facebook is a U.S. company that operates internationally, their lawyers may have concluded that Facebook could only lose if this became a court battle.
However, since there is something to the point you made, Facebook is perfectly within their rights to say, "This is too complicated for us. We do not want to be caught in the middle. Until the two of you hash this out in a way that will keep us (Facebook) out of the courts, neither one of you can have it." That is something that Facebook can legally, and ethically, do.

Re:ridiculous (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203812)

So, you're saying that Facebook doesn't have the exclusive rights to do whatever they want under the facebook.com domain? Because I really don't buy that.

If Sanofi wanted Facebook.com/Merck and had a page that said Merck kills babies (with sources), I'm pretty sure that Facebook could allow that, legally. It's their domain, legally. And no one has any rights, legal or otherwise, to facebook.com/*anyname* except Facebook.

Re:ridiculous (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204040)

Perhaps, but if Sanofi had a page at Facebook/Merck that was used to promote pharmaceuticals, it would be a violation of trademark and Facebook could not legally allow that. So, Facebook cannot do whatever they like with Facebook.com/Merck, even though it is their domain.

So Facebook is like a parent now? (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203190)

This is EXACTLY like when my brother and I used to fight over a toy. Mom or dad would come in and declare that if we couldn't figure it out nicely, then neither one of us would get it.

I actually commend Facebook for this. They probably don't want to deal with these disputes at all and this is really a good policy to have.

Re:So Facebook is like a parent now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203322)

You commend them for agreeing to give one party the name, then screwing up and somehow assigning it to the OTHER party, then taking it away from everyone when the rightful owner sought to have the mistake corrected?

If your parents acted like this you'd probably think they were dicks, and rightfully so.

Re:So Facebook is like a parent now? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203880)

There was never any "owner" except Facebook itself. Merck using it was if anything a favor FB was doing it. Of course, that does mean companies should think twice before relying on favors.

Re:So Facebook is like a parent now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203720)

This is EXACTLY like when my brother and I used to fight over a toy. Mom or dad would come in and declare that if we couldn't figure it out nicely, then neither one of us would get it.

I actually commend Facebook for this. They probably don't want to deal with these disputes at all and this is really a good policy to have.

Excuse me? So if you were playing with a toy for a while, then bro comes in, tries to take it from you, then Mom will take it and none will have it? That's crazy, and your brother will always win: (a) he gets the toy, and can play with it or (b) Mom gets the toy, but that only switches the "someone else" in someone else has it. You, on the other hand, will lose the toy in both cases.

It's obvious the status quo from before the "administrative error" should be re-instated and then both Mercks can settle their differences.

just make a disambiguation page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203392)

Why can't they just make a wikipedia style disambiguation page? It's the obvious, adult, fair solution that a hoarde of lawyers would never come up with.

Re:just make a disambiguation page (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203468)

Why can't they just make a wikipedia style disambiguation page? It's the obvious, adult, fair solution that a hoarde of lawyers would never come up with.

I agree, though I still like FB's decision. (That feel weird to say to anyone else?)

No soup for you! (2)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203394)

No soup for you Merck!

How about they cut the facebook page in half and give each Merck a half.

Facebook Disambiguation Page? (1)

mistapotta (941143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203444)

How long until Facebook has Disambiguation pages? [wikipedia.org]

Impacts? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203936)

So will this make companies have second thoughts about setting up a Facebook page? Why would Coke spend hundreds of thousands of dollars maintaining and promoting their Facebook presence if FB can "accidentally" give the page to "Joe's House of Coke" and then refuse to give it back to the Coca Cola company when the mistake is discovered, even after FB admits it was an administrative error on their part?

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