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Closed Facebook-ConnectU hearing ends with no ruling

ConnectU's founders want to reopen a settlement, saying Facebook entered into it fraudulently. A federal magistrate said he wanted to get started behind closed doors.

Updated 1:12 p.m. PDT to reflect that the hearing session has ended.

SAN JOSE, Calif.--A hearing in a dispute between Facebook and ConnectU wrapped up early Monday afternoon with no ruling, after the federal judge overseeing the matter had closed the proceedings to the public and the press.

U.S. District Judge James Ware plans to issue a ruling before too much time has elapsed, attorneys involved in the matter said as they left the courthouse here following the hearing, which lasted somewhat less than two hours.

Reporters from CNET, the San Jose Mercury News, and Bloomberg had objected to the courtroom being closed, which is uncommon in federal civil cases, and asked for a delay so their attorneys could be present. Ware rejected the request, saying he would "set up a time to make objections."

"I've made a judgment that it could be beneficial to the court" to conduct at least the first portion of the hearing "in a closed courtroom," Ware said Monday morning.

A lawsuit between ConnectU and Facebook was settled earlier this year. ConnectU now says Facebook, the most popular social network in the world, entered into the settlement fraudulently. Therefore, it says, the case must be reopened.

The beef stems from allegations by ConnectU's founders that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg stole their business idea in 2003, when the founders were students at Harvard University.

Many documents in the case have been filed under seal, including instant messages reportedly sent by Zuckerberg to colleagues at Facebook.