Feeds

Judge questions theft claims of Facebook rival

Put up or shut up

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A federal judge said he needed more information concerning allegations that the founder of Facebook stole software code and business plans from the creators of a rival social networking site.

US District Judge Douglas Woodlock told attorneys for ConnectU founders they needed to substantiate claims that Mark Zuckerberg misappropriated trade secrets while they were students at Harvard, according to the Associated Press. The judge repeatedly asked for specific details of a contract the plaintiffs say they entered into with Zuckerberg.

ConnectU attorney John Hornick at one point replied that Zuckerberg agreed complete work by June 2004 on software and a database for Harvard Connection, a site that was to serve students of the Ivy League college. In exchange, Zuckerberg would become one of four shareholders in the company.

Woodlock, however, demanded details related to the alleged contract, at one point saying: "Dorm room chit-chat does not make a contract."

While it's always risky to infer too much from such comments, lawyers for ConnectU aren't likely to take comfort in the Woodlock's statement, said Ian Ballon, an intellectual property attorney at Greenberg Traurig.

"That's a pretty strong comment for a judge and it suggests a certain amount of skepticism about ConnectU's claim," he said. "In order to substantiate that allegation, ConnectU has to come forward and really define what their trade secret is."

In February 2004, Zuckerberg went on to found TheFacebook.com, which eventually was renamed Facebook. Three months later, the three remaining partners started ConnectU.

With more than 30m registered users, Facebook has clearly outshone ConnectU's fewer than 100,000 subscribers, even if claims from a Facebook director that Facebook is worth more than $10bn are no more than self-serving delusions. ConnectU founders - Divya Narendra and twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss - are seeking an order shutting down Facebook and assigning them control and profits of the site.

Woodlock went on to say: "You haven't told me anything other than there's something out there." He gave the plaintiffs until August 8 to detail their allegations. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.