Facebook ownership goes to court

25-07-2007

Facebook ownership goes to court
The creator of the internet phenomenon Facebook will discover today whether he faces a lengthy court action over claims he stole the idea from the founders of a rival site.

Three students who attended Harvard university at the same time as Mark Zuckerberg have filed a court action alleging copyright infringement, stealing trade secrets, fraud and breach of contract.

According to Divya Narendra and twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Mr Zuckerberg stole the trio's idea for a social networking site while helping them to develop it at the Massachusetts university.

"[Mr] Zuckerberg never intended to provide the code and instead intended to breach his promise and intended to steal the idea," court documents allege.

But 23-year-old Mr Zuckerberg denies all wrongdoing and is calling on the Boston judge to dismiss the case.

"Only one of [the students] had an idea significant enough to build a great company. That one person was Mark Zuckerberg," his lawyers said.

If the claimants, who own a low-key social networking site called ConnectU, were to be successful in their court action they would assume complete control of Facebook, which has more than 30 million members worldwide.

Despite rival website MySpace having a bigger user-base, Facebook's meteoric rise has seen it labelled the 'next Google' by ecommerce commentators, with Mr Zuckerberg rejecting a $1 billion (£486 million) takeover offer from Yahoo! earlier this year.


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