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Facebook Likely To See Off IP Challenge

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

01 August 2007

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said to be the second largest social networking site with 31m members, was attacked in a Boston court last week by Harvard student colleagues who say he took their ideas; but a judge told ConnectU's founders that they must produce more evidence to support their claims.

Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who worked on Harvard Connection, a website which later became ConnectU, say that the 23 year old Zuckerberg was hired in November 2003 to write computer code for their site, but that he: "never intended to provide the code and instead intended to breach his promise ... and intended to steal the idea for the Harvard Connection website, and in fact he did so".

Zuckerberg and Facebook and other parties are accused by ConnectU of copyright infringement, breach of actual or implied contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, unfair business practices, intentional interference with prospective business advantage, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud and breach of confidence.

But Massachusetts District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock told the plaintiffs that their case was "gossamer thin on the question of contract." They have been given until 8th August to file a revised complaint.

“I’m going to offer you the opportunity to meet a higher standard. It’s in your hands,” Judge Woodlock told the 25-year-old brothers Winklevoss. “Dorm room chit-chat does not make a contract, so I want to see it” Woodlock said.

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