May 27, 2011

Zuckerberg Dismisses Ownership Claim By Ceglia

A suit filed last June claims that at least 50 percent of Facebook is owned by the plaintiff, Paul Ceglia of Wellsville, New York, after he signed a contract with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in April 2003 to design a website called "The Face Book" or "The Page Book," AFP is reporting.

Facebook Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, in 23-page response to Ceglia's claims, denounced his suit as a "brazen and outrageous fraud on the court" based on a "doctored contract and fabricated evidence."

Ceglia's attorneys have produced copies of emails and a contract purportedly signed by Zuckerberg, who was then a student at Harvard University.

Facebook's response was clear and forceful, "The purported contract was signed in 2003, yet plaintiff waited until 2010 to file this action -- a seven-year delay during which plaintiff remained utterly silent while Facebook grew into one of the world's best-known companies. Plaintiff has now come out of the woodwork seeking billions in damages."

"Plaintiff is an inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders," Facebook charges.

A wood pellet salesman from Wellsville, New York, Ceglia has contended that he contracted in 2003 for 50 percent of Zuckerberg's interest in what became Facebook, Reuters reports.

Although held privately, analysts have said Facebook could be worth $70 billion should it go public. Forbes magazine in March estimated Zuckerberg's net worth at $13.5 billion. Ceglia originally sued last July, saying he had contracted with Zuckerberg for an 84 percent Facebook stake.

This is not the first court action over the origins and ownership of the giant social network. Twin brothers and fellow classmates of Zuckerberg, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, are still keeping lawyers busy with their claims of Facebook ownership.

The twin brothers have accused Facebook and Zuckerberg of stealing their idea for the website. The battle between the Winklevoss twins and Zuckerberg was dramatized in the 2010 Oscar-nominated movie "The Social Network".


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