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Facebook has branded claims by a New York man that Mark Zuckerberg owes him 84 per cent of the firm "frivolous".

Paul Ceglia, of Wellsville, has filed a complaint at Allegany County Supreme Court alleging he and Zuckerberg entered into a website design contract in 2003.

According to the suit, the resulting website launched in 2004 as thefacebook.com. Ceglia claims his contract with Zuckerberg entitled him to a 50 per cent share of the company, plus one per cent for every day after a 1 January deadline. Thefacebook.com launched on 4 February.

Zuckerberg was served with a summons relating to the suit at the annual Sun Valley conference for media tycoons at the weekend.

Facebook said it will fight the "completely frivolous" suit vigorously.

It won't be the first time the genesis of Facebook has come under scrutiny in the courts. Last year Zuckerberg paid off his Harvard contempories Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss to the tune of $20m cash plus stock worth up to $45m. They claimed he stole ideas from their social network, ConnectU.

However, Ceglia has his own legal problems currently. In December the New York Attorney General took out a restraining order against his company, which markets wood pellet fuel. Authorities claim he lied and repeatedly took customers' money then failed to deliver goods or refunds. ®

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