May 31, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
So almost two months ago, a small business owner from New York state named Paul Ceglia surfaced, seemingly out of nowhere (which is not to say that New York state is nowhere) with some mysterious documents. The documents seemed to say that at some point 7 years ago, he and Zuckerberg entered into an agreement wherein Ceglia agreed to finance Zuckerberg’s work on “the Facebook,” in addition to retaining his services for a different software project.
The news was met with a mixed reaction at the time. The tech world is filled with these kinds of stories. Every suddenly successful startup or ecommerce solution has their own version of this tale. A long lost business partner or investor comes out of the shadows and demands his or her cut of the new found profits, despite having been noticeably absent while all the hard work was being done (and quite possibly, as in the case of Ceglia, lacking any and all relevant skills to have contributed to that success should he or she have been around to help out).
The documents were compelling enough at the time, but ultimately nothing came of them right away. They weren’t powerful enough on their face to get a judge or jury to unanimously declare: “Yes, give that man half of Facebook!” According to the documents, he would actually be due much more than half.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting anything. At least not anytime soon. Facebook has officially released its response to Ceglia’s allegations. In their response (full text here) they counter that Ceglia is of dubious moral character and that his documents are obvious forgeries.
Facebook’s response is decidedly not taking the high road. Their assault on Paul Ceglia’s character (however true it may or may not be) is somewhat unnecessary. For a giant corporation like Facebook, with its billions of dollars, huge valuation, integrated ecommerce solutions, media players, and pioneering communications technologies, to stoop to these attacks seems kind of bullyish.
It’s certainly within their rights to defend their founder and all related technologies against illegal outside intrusion, especially when it’s fraudulent, but it doesn’t make Facebook any bigger to belittle someone else. Some would argue that Facebook should just pay Ceglia to go away, but this would send the wrong message too. A company with pockets that deep can’t afford let people think that just by raising a stink they can get some money.