Print 14 comment(s) - last by dcashm01.. on Jul 27 at 11:19 AM

Judge believes that ConnectU is only trying to dig Facebook's gold

A Massachusetts federal judge on Wednesday postponed decision on the validity of the complaint by ConnectU alleging that the founder of Facebook had stolen the idea for its social networking website.

Specifically, the founders of ConnectU, which was originally called HarvardConnection, Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevosss, claim that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for the social networking site while he was recruited to develop a part of ConnectU.

“I’m going to offer you the opportunity to meet a higher standard. It’s in your hands,” Judge Douglas P. Woodlock told the 25-year-old brothers Winklevoss.

Woodlock is now giving ConnectU two months to present more evidence, such as a contract, proving that Zuckerberg stole the idea from his work with his former Harvard school mates. The judge called the Winklevoss twins’ claim “gossamer thin,” perhaps thinking that the lawsuit is was actually brought about with intentions of securing a monetary settlement with Facebook.

“Dorm room chit-chat does not make a contract, so I want to see it” Woodlock said, adding that, “A vague contract is no contract at all.”

Cameron Winklevoss claims to have record of 52 email exchanges and three meetings between his team and Zuckerberg, where the group discussed the ConnectU site.

Zuckerberg says that he voluntarily agreed to contribute six hours of coding for the ConnectU site, but denies that he had knowledge of it being a social networking system. Instead, he claims that he believed it to be a personal site to connect students, alumni and employers.

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give it up
By omnicronx on 7/26/2007 9:41:19 AM , Rating: 3
These guys are morons anyways, if this kid stole the idea from them, and then on his own created a better, cross nation social networking site before they could finish an internal harvard system, means to me that these kids are morons, whether their claim is true or not! Looks like a stunt to pressure facebook into a settlement.

And lets face it people, nothing on the web is safe, and ideas are stolen, then improved upon all the time. Look at netflix for example, blockbuster totally stole their idea and system but they will probably lose their court case against them..

RE: give it up
By azrael201 on 7/26/2007 10:05:13 AM , Rating: 4
well the implication here is his job was to code ConnectU for them and instead he spent that time developing Facebook. Of course it's going to be suspicious when you delay your end of the deal to put out, no not some programming assignment for some professor so and so, but a competing social networking website?! It's highly likely he basically got the scoop on them. Welcome to the real world kids.

RE: give it up
By 1337n00blar on 7/26/2007 10:24:31 AM , Rating: 4
two problems with your post. first, facebook started out as an internal networking site for harvard and has slowly expanded, first to MIT, then to other Ivies, then to all colleges, and now finally across the nation. second, they aren't saying their idea was stolen off the internet, they're saying that he stole it while working on developing basically the same application for them. i'm not saying that their claim is legit or not, cause i don't think anyone here knows that for sure, but just wanted to make sure that you got your facts straight.

RE: give it up
By omnicronx on 7/26/2007 10:57:31 AM , Rating: 2
I am not saying what he did was right even if he outright stole the idea. I am saying the makers of connectu are morons if they allowed him to complete an entire site from scratch before they could release theirs in which they probably had the design idea, and were coding before he even knew about the project. It just doesnt make sense, if the facebook guy took that long to give them the short piece of code they needed, they should have done it themselves plain and simple.

I will never side with the ConnectU guys unless i get 100% proof that they came up with the idea for a social networking site with a focus on pictures and photo albums, which is what set Facebook apart from other identical sites such as Myspace. Facebook is nothing new, and to think that you can make something so generic and take forever to make it without someone stealing your idea is moronic!

RE: give it up
By Pandamonium on 7/26/2007 11:49:55 AM , Rating: 3
Photo album functionality was added sometime in 2005, well after Facebook's launch. I assure you that users at the first 10-20 schools added to Facebook thought it would become a dating site for the Ivies and their academic peers. The idea was that whether you met someone at a drunken, poorly lit, and ultra crowded party or you met someone in class, you could look their contact info up quickly and decide whether you wanted to pursue it later. That never really took off, and Facebook, over time, has adapted itself to social networking purposes.

RE: give it up
By omnicronx on 7/26/2007 11:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
Cool i didnt know that, so i could have got some Harvard tail, pretending to be a student?... damn...
But you must admit though, the site never would have taken off without the album functionality

RE: give it up
By Moishe on 7/26/2007 12:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
The concept is certainly not unique and it certainly is obvious.

This really looks like they are looking at the millions that Facebook has earned and getting greedy. They can't compete and so they're trying to get a cut of the dough.

RE: give it up
By Moishe on 7/26/2007 12:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
Even if he worked his 6 hours of volunteer coding for ConnectU and even if that 6 hours was interspersed with times of coding for Facebook, without a contract they have pretty much nothing. Basically, the Winklevoss guys were dumb to not at least make him sign a contract or non-compete before showing him their ideas and code.

RE: give it up
By OrSin on 7/26/2007 12:10:22 PM , Rating: 1
In my option he probaly did steal the orginal idea. Sorry but you can't sit in meeting about a product and then decide to develop your own in paralell and even slow down thier orginal one for your own beneifit. But also facebook now is so much different then what was created that they have no claim on his current wealth. So even if they did win they should win for the price of the orginal product. Say 10K at the most. This guy ran far and wide with the created much more then they had. And should have no right to what his work later did.

By Polynikes on 7/26/2007 1:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think this lawsuit is going nowhere.

RE: Yup
By Samus on 7/26/2007 3:44:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think the kid should counter-sue for name defamation and slander. This crap has got to stop. I mean really, how long has facebook been around? 4 years? It took the 'alleged patent-holder' 4 years to figure it out? You gotta be kidding me, this is as rediculous as the RIM Blackberry patent case.

Blackberry's were around for years before the guy even tried to notify RIM his internet transport technology was being used...which, heh, in that case it was, but there should be a time-limit for technology patent lawsuits.

I think a lot of people sit around and wait until the technology being infringed upon starts making someone a lot of money, so they have something to go after instead of just striking a deal with them in the beginning for licensing (which would be the ethical thing to so :)

RE: Yup
By Brainonska511 on 7/26/2007 5:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
I don't necessarily know about implementing a time limit on stuff like that since it takes time to investigate if someone actually stole your idea or is using your patent.

By dcashm01 on 7/27/2007 11:19:54 AM , Rating: 3
The judge has already decided - no signed contract = no case.

If ConnectU had a signed contract they would have already presented it by now.

Facebook stole the idea fair and square - case OVER.

Fairytail names
By Baked on 7/26/2007 1:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevosss. Tell me they made those names up. Winklevosssssssss? What?!

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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