BBC NEWS | Business | Facebook site faces fraud claim FYI. Maybe there is a reason he turned down the billion dollars.

Social networking website Facebook could be closed if legal action in the US by a rival site’s founders succeeds. Three founders of ConnectU say Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the site while at Harvard. Facebook has become a global phenomenon with about 31 million users, compared with ConnectU’s 70,000.

A Federal case accuses Mr Zuckerberg of fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets, and asks for ConnectU to be given ownership of Facebook.

referred by Rick Miale

  1. ChrisMac says:

    not exactly a new development.. just the ongoing saga

  2. RBG says:

    I’m not following this story at all, but as far as I know an idea can’t be protected only the expression of that idea.


  3. Dauragon88 says:

    Lol, this reminds me of that scene from the Italian Job remake.

    “I created Napster! That guy stole it from my computer while we were in college! do you know why he called it Napster? Cause I was taking a NAP!”

  4. Mr. Fusion says:

    Lets see, if you were one of the litigants and someone took your idea and proceeded to see it grow to over $1 billion then wouldn’t you be upset?

    If you started a company and some old schoolmates decided they wanted some of the worth, would you just give it to them?

    So does that make this a frivolous suit without merit or just one of those lawsuits where as right as they are, it will be an uphill battle to prove their case?

  5. Alex says:

    “as far as I know an idea can’t be protected only the expression of that idea.”

    An idea can’t be copyrighted – and rightly they’re not claiming copyright infringement. They’re claiming “fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets” – which means he lied (to them) and took the secrets of their site to his own. Seeing as to how he actually helped code ConnectU at the time, they have a decent enough leg to stand on.

  6. Bounty paper towels is protected by twenty U.S. patents. Seriously, look at the package. Aren’t ideas protected by the patent system?

  7. Sea Lawyer says:

    #7, no, but implementations are.

  8. Todd Anderson, III says:

    This sort of lawsuit inspires in me hope that the madness that is the current state of intellectual property law in America might be somewhat corralled.

    To wit, the idea of a social networking is not especially original, even if you amply pepper impressive-sounding buzzwords throughout the business plan.

    Simply having an idea does not entitle you to become rich should someone else who overhears it beat you in the marketplace.

    Hopefully the judge who hears this case will tell the boys at ConnectU that had they built a better mousetrap, or at least chosen a catchier name, they might not be such a distant second.

    Unfortunately it will almost certainly settle out of court and the extortion that passes for IP law here in America will continue unabated.

  9. jdm says:

    If ConnectU only has 70K users then its owners are lacking a lot more business sense than just who to trust with their trade secrets. If it turns out that they didn’t take the proper measures to protect their IP then no court will side with them.

  10. joshua says:

    Since Facebook was up and running BEFORE connectu….and no patents or copyrights were entered into….they most likely will lose. As someone said above, the IDEA has been around, the fact that they WANTED to do it and the fact that an ex partner or worker got off his butt and DID it, means nada to connectu’s case.

    But, as Todd said…it will settle and connectu will be the next recipient of money for being bad business managers. Kind of like everyone sueing MS because they couldn’t come up with products and marketing that worked, and winning huge cash settlements that made them all rich for being crap at marketing and running a business.

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    I don’t think Facebook will settle. Mark Zuckerburg turned down $1 billion for the company. He can afford the lawyers to hash it out.

  12. Jack Payne says:

    Seems like a lot of wishful thinking here, from a legal point of view. Even as a nuisance suit it would be of dubious value, I would think.

    Nowhere near the shrewdess of the “paper trails” con man.
    This is an area I write in constantly. And, when I compare, well, no comparison is possible.


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