Facebook reportedly will settle ConnectU lawsuit

According to the New York Times, the years-long legal tiff is close to an end. Motions to dismiss the intellectual-property case may be just weeks away.

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
2 min read

You're likely to be disappointed, those of you who were secretly hoping for an over-the-top, preppies-gone-nasty legal battle between Facebook's founders and the former Harvard classmates who claimed they filched their business plan.

The Facebook-ConnectU legal battle was tinged with Ivy League treachery, but it looks like we won't get a 'Skulls'-worthy story out of this one. Universal Pictures

According to Brad Stone of the New York Times, Facebook is reportedly close to settling the lawsuit that the founders of onetime social-networking site ConnectU have been pursuing for several years now.

According to the founders of ConnectU, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their business partner Divya Narendra, they hired current Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a programmer for ConnectU when they were all students at Harvard. Zuckerberg, they claimed, stalled on his work at ConnectU as he created his own social-networking site, which then became Facebook. The ConnectU founders launched their legal campaign against Facebook in 2004, long before the site was as popular as it is today.

Facebook has retorted with allegations that ConnectU's suit is unfounded--as well as a countersuit claiming that ConnectU mined Facebook's user data to recruit more members. Indeed, the outlook has not been favorable for ConnectU, as a judge indicated in July that the side simply didn't have the evidence to back up its claims.

Thanks to his success with Facebook, Zuckerberg is now the youngest member of Forbes magazine's annual list of billionaires; ConnectU is largely forgotten, as Narendra now works in finance in New York and the Winklevoss twins are vying for spots on the U.S. Olympic crew team.

The Times blog post on Monday did not provide much detail, but said that Facebook was "finalizing a settlement" with the ConnectU founders and that legal documents pertaining to the case dismissal should appear within a few weeks.