Business as usual at Facebook as lawsuit begins

Facebook may continue business as usual while it fights a New York man's claim he has a contract with founder Mark Zuckerberg that entitles him to 84 per cent ownership of the world's leading social networking site, a US court heard on Tuesday.

Paul Ceglia of Wellsville, New York, sued Zuckerberg and Facebook last month claiming a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg to develop and design a website now entitled him to a majority stake in the privately-held company.



A New York State judge in Allegany County put a temporary restraining order on company asset transfers, but that order was suspended on June 30 by Judge Richard Arcara of federal court in Buffalo, New York.



Arcara decided at a hearing on Tuesday that his ruling should remain in place, Facebook and a lawyer for Ceglia said.



"We have reached an agreement with respect to the progress of the next stage of the litigation," said Ceglia's lawyer, Terrence Connors.



In a statement, the Palo Alto, California-based company said: "We are pleased that the court's decision to stay the temporary restraining order remains in place and will continue to fight this frivolous claim."



The purported contract was dated April 2003 and ended in February 2004, according to Ceglia's complaint, which had a two-page "'Work for Hire' Contract" attached.



"He has contract. The contract is clean and clear," Connors said by telephone after the hearing.



Connors said he argued in court that Zuckerberg had signed the contract.



"The judge asked the question of the defense and they said they were looking into it," Connors said. "I suspect that, if their client did not sign it, they would have made that clear."



In court documents, lawyers for Zuckerberg and Facebook wrote that Ceglia "sat on his allowed rights for over six years" and should not be permitted "to say that now, all of a sudden, he requires immediate relief."



The company, which has nearly 500 million users and 1,000 employees, argued the "purported contract itself is wrought with irregularities, inconsistencies and undefined terms."



Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University in Massachusetts at the time of the purported contract.



Facebook's court papers noted that last December a state prosecutor accused a wood-pellet fuel company that Ceglia owned with his wife of taking $200,000 from customers and failing to deliver products or refunds.



The company is also defending a claim in federal court in Delaware that the most basic functions of its website infringe a patent held by a little-known company.



Facebook ranks among the Web's most popular sites, alongside Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Facebook is also one of the most closely watched Web companies by investors eager for a blockbuster initial public offering.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician - 2nd / 3rd Line

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Technician is req...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most