The Crimson Code

If you’ve never heard of ConnectU, you are not alone. In a case of Ivy League intringue, ConnectU filed suit against Facebook for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets, among other charges. The story goes that ConnectU, formerly known as the Harvard Connection, had engaged Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg to complete computer programming and database definitions for the Harvard Connection website. Instead, Zuckerberg allegedly takes the code and trade secrets from the Harvard Connection to launch Facebook, a competing website.

Here’s my favorite line from the Complaint: “With respect to Internet websites, the first to enter a market has a substantial advantage.” So, how much of a lead in launch time did Facebook have over ConnectU? Facebook launched on February 4, 2004 and the ConnectU website launched on May 21, 2004. So, it only takes 107 days to build such a substantial advantage that your competitors are sent packing their bags and closing shop. Right.

Read the ConnectU Inc. v. Facebook Inc. et al. Complaint

Additional Resources:

  • ConnectU, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc. et al. Filed on March 28, 2007 in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. From Justia Federal Court Filings.
  • The Facebook, Inc. v. ConnectU, LLC et al. Filed on March 9, 2007 in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. From Justia Federal Court Filings.
  • TheFaceBook v. ConnectU Register of Actions/Docket. From the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.