* Merck KGaA says Merck & Co took over its Facebook page
* Unclear who may be at fault
* Facebook 'has not been cooperative' -- court papers
* Merck & Co, Facebook looking into matter
By Jonathan Stempel
Nov 23 German drugmaker Merck KGaA
accused U.S. rival Merck & Co of hijacking its Facebook
page and said it plans to sue to get it back.
Merck KGaA asked a New York judge to force Facebook Inc to
turn over information to help determine how the German company
lost the page,, and the ability
to administer it.
According to a Monday filing with a New York state court in
Manhattan, Merck KGaA contracted with Facebook in March 2010
for exclusive use of the page, but discovered last month that
the unrelated Merck & Co was using it.
Facebook "has not been cooperative" in restoring the page,
and in several alleged communications appeared nonresponsive or
evasive in dealing with Merck KGaA, the filing said.
"Because Facebook is an important marketing device, the
page is of great value to Merck, and its misappropriation is
causing harm to Merck," Merck KGaA said. "It is not clear how
that happened or who is at fault nor ... is Facebook providing
clear information about what happened."
Merck KGaA said it may bring legal action alleging breach
of contract and interference with its business. It did not
indicate whom it may sue. Merck & Co is not a defendant.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes and Merck & Co spokesman
Ronald Rogers said their respective companies are looking into
the matter. Merck KGaA declined to comment.
According to Merck KGaA, the 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 following World War I.
Merck & Co is based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey;
Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany; and Facebook in Palo Alto,
The case is Merck KGaA v. Facebook Inc, New York State
Supreme Court, New York County, No. 113215/2011.