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Facebook Accused of “Stealing Ideas”

Written by Ben Evans on 31 July 2007

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The founder of social networking website Facebook has been accused of stealing the ideas and business plan of three men behind rival site ConnectU. But a Boston judge yesterday ruled that ConnectU must provide more evidence to support their claim.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg worked with Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss on Harvard Connection, which later became known as ConnectU. The original site was aimed at linking past and present Harvard students, and then became open to the general public. Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard when he was approached to write code for the Harvard Connection site, he was
hired in November 2003 to produce code for June 2004, by February 2004 he had launched Facebook.

According to ConnectU Zuckerberg: "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".

Facebook has become a global phenomenon from its routes as a US University only site it now opened its doors to anyone who wants to register and has a membership total of over 31 million users.

Zuckerberg and Facebook have been accused 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.

Zuckerberg’s lawyers have argued that the allegations are “broad brush” and are not adequately supported by evidence.

ConnectU have until 8 August to file a revised complaint.

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