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Archive for July 15th, 2007

  images1.jpg    FaceBook  

A long-simmering dispute over the origins of Facebook is set to erupt later this month at a federal court hearing about whether Mark Zuckerberg, the young web mogul now being feted by media honchos, stole the original code for his booming social network from three Harvard classmates.

The lawsuit, filed by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accuses Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 23-year-old C.E.O, of stealing the source code, design, and business plan for Facebook in 2003 when he briefly worked in the Harvard dorms as a programmer for their own fledgling social-networking site, now known as ConnectU.

With the case revving up, the focus is on Facebook’s origins in the dorms of Harvard. In the spring of 2003, the Winklevoss brothers, two Harvard juniors, asked Zuckerberg to help program their fledgling online student directory, then known as Harvard Connection. Zuckerberg does not deny working for the brothers and has admitted having access to the source code of their website “in late 2003,” according to court filings.

The Winklevoss brothers say Zurckerberg was integral to the development of ConnectU – before he ripped them off to launch Facebook. They say Zuckerberg not only stole “the basic idea” for Facebook, but also their business plan as well as the site’s specific code, layout and database which were “proprietary and confidential.”

Zuckerberg is clearly taking the ConnectU lawsuit seriously. He’s brought out the big guns, led by Silicon Valley intellectual property law ace Hopkins Guy, in addition to his already high-powered lawyers from the Boston office of Proskauer Rose.

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