ConnectU, Facebook spat resurfaces in San Jose courtroom

Motion hearing for countersuit against onetime Harvard rival looks into Facebook's claim that ConnectU programmers hacked into its user database in 2005.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

The lengthy legal fight between social-networking scion Facebook and onetime rival ConnectU isn't over yet. New developments in the dispute on Wednesday probed deeper into the question of exactly what happened in 2004, when both sites were early-stage start-ups run essentially out of Harvard University dorm rooms.

The best-known component of the court drama has been ConnectU's allegation that Zuckerberg pilfered the former's business plan while he was a student at Harvard with ConnectU founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (they're twins) and Divya Narendra. In a San Jose, Calif., courtroom on Wednesday, however, the conversation turned to a countersuit.

Facebook had filed suit in the Northern District of California in 2005, claiming that ConnectU-employed programmers had hacked into Facebook in 2004 in order to obtain e-mail addresses that it could use for ConnectU invitations.

In Wednesday's motion hearing, ConnectU attorney Scott Mosko asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg to dismiss Facebook's countersuit, according to a local ABC News story. Facebook attorney I. Neel Chatterjee responded that ConnectU co-founder Cameron Winklevoss had been "deeply involved" in the alleged hacking scheme.

Seeborg concluded the hearing by saying he would issue a decision in the future. He did not specify a date.