Ferrari and Facebook Sued Over Enormously Popular Facebook Fan Pages
Cutting-Edge Case Tests the Value of Two Facebook Pages
San Francisco (October 15, 2014): Farella Braun + Martel LLP has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. and luxury carmaker Ferrari S.p.A. on behalf of Olivier and Sammy Wasem, a father-son team that spent years and thousands of hours building two Facebook pages for Ferrari enthusiasts. The two pages were enormously popular and attracted more than 19 million fans when Ferrari, acting with Facebook’s help, kicked the Wasems off the pages and took control of them for itself.
The complaint, filed on October 14 in San Mateo Superior Court, alleges that Ferrari attempted to create a Facebook fan page on its own, but when its page failed to generate a substantial number of fans, it agreed to manage the two pages created by the Wasems together as partners. After years of working together, Ferrari and Facebook removed the Wasems as “administrators” of the pages, effectively taking from them any ability to control or manage the pages that they had created.
Industry experts have estimated that the value of a single Facebook fan ranges from $174 to over $1,000, and the pages the Wasems created have over 19 million fans together. The case, Olivier Wasem & Sammy Wasem v. Facebook, Inc. & Ferrari S.p.A., Case No. CIV-530869, seeks monetary damages for the Wasems and a declaration of their rights as owners of the two pages. (Link to Complaint)
“This is a cutting-edge case about the value and ownership rights over Facebook pages, but it’s an old story,” said Farella lead attorney James Morando. “Ferrari saw that what the Wasems created was valuable. Ferrari wanted it. And so, with Facebook’s help, Ferrari took what didn’t belong to it. The Wasems brought this suit to protect their rights and to force Ferrari to pay them for their efforts.”
The Farella lawyers representing Olivier and Sammy Wasem are IP Litigation Partner James W. Morando, Business Litigation Partner Karen P. Kimmey, and IP Litigation Associate Alex Reese.
Farella Braun + Martel represents clients throughout the United States and abroad in sophisticated business transactions and complex commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Farella lawyers are known for their imaginative legal solutions, dynamism and intellectual creativity. With an unwavering service ethic and interdisciplinary team approach, the firm is committed to advancing clients' objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner. Founded in 1962, Farella is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry. www.fbm.com
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