Facebook: Lawsuit Seeking Half-Ownership Is a 'Fraud'

Attorneys accuse Paul Ceglia of doctoring old contract
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 27, 2011 3:37 PM CDT
Mark Zuckerberg attends an Internet forum as part of the G8 summit in Deauville, France.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Attorneys for Facebook are calling a man's federal lawsuit claiming part ownership of the company "a fraud on the court." In their latest legal response, Facebook attorneys accuse Paul Ceglia of doctoring a 2003 contract that he says proves he bought into Mark Zuckerberg's idea for the site when Zuckerberg was a Harvard freshman. Ceglia "has now come out of the woodwork seeking billions in damages," said the response filed yesterday in US District Court in Buffalo. Ceglia's lawsuit relies largely on a two-page "work for hire" contract bearing the names of both men.

Ceglia says he and Zuckerberg signed the contract after Zuckerberg responded to his Craigslist ad for work on a street-mapping database he was creating. But the Facebook lawyers aren’t having it—they called the suit “a brazen and outrageous fraud on the court,” and said Ceglia's alleged contract is a "cut-and-paste" job that Zuckerberg never signed. Ceglia seeks a 50% share of the Facebook founder's interest in the company. (Click to read about Zuckerberg's new culinary leanings.)

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