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Snapchat seeks to muzzle 'third founder' leaks in lawsuit over who invented it

Stop him spaffing confidential info, selfie service begs judge

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Selfie service Snapchat has filed a temporary restraining order against Frank Reginald Brown, a former friend and frat brother of co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who claims that he helped come up with the idea for the company.

The firm, which allows its mainly teen users to exchange auto-deleting photo messages, has asked the court to stop Brown from disclosing confidential information about Snapchat – and to consider holding Brown and his legal team in contempt for the data they've already exposed.

In a filing made to the US District Court (Central District) of California, Snapchat said that Brown's lawyers had admitted being the source of leaked videos of depositions in the case, which they handed over to Business Insider. The company said that the videos should have been kept confidential under a protective order, but Brown disagrees.

"Plaintiff and his counsel boldly claimed they had a right to make such disclosures - despite the contrary terms of the protective order - because they unilaterally (and wrongly) determined that Snapchat had waived its rights under the protective order," the filing said.

"Plaintiff and his counsel also refused to cease further violations of the protective order, stating that they reserver the right to disclose Snapchat's confidential documents and information to the media - at any time and without any warning or meet and confer - whenever they unilaterally determine that Snapchat has, in their erroneous view, waived its rights."

The firm added that it would suffer great or irreparable injury if Brown was allowed to keep leaking its confidential data.

Brown hit back in his own filing today, saying that the application for a restraining order was a "meritless attempt to scapegoat plaintiffs' counsel for defence counsel's neglect of their own responsibilities and their strategic mistake of initiating the disclosure of discovery materials to the public".

"Defendants’ real complaint is that their efforts to shape public opinion about this case in the media backfired when plaintiff exercised his right to defend himself. For this, a TRO, contempt and sanctions are unavailable," the filing said.

Brown is suing Snapchat for breach of partnership, claiming that the company and its founders are trying to deny his contribution in founding the firm.

The selfie service is proving popular with teens and twenty-somethings and last month rejected an acquisition offer from Facebook that would have valued the company at over $3bn. ®

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