Paul Ceglia

The internet is on fire today. The purported contract between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and random New York resident Paul Ceglia has hit the worldwide web. We’ve written about Ceglia’s claims to 84% of Facebook before. But now that people have actually seen the document, everybody wants to talk about it.

I even ended up on Fox Business News, sharing my analysis of the Facebook contract.

As most lawyers know, just because you have a signed contract doesn’t necessarily mean you have anything. What was the bargain? Was there a meeting of the minds? Contracts aren’t always clear about what the parties are actually agreeing to.

This one, allegedly signed by Zuckerberg when he was a college sophomore, has lots of room for interpretation…

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The meteoric rise of Facebook has tended to inspire lawsuits by those who claim to have collaborated with Mark Zuckerberg in the site’s creation. The latest to make a claim on the 500-million-member site is a wood chipper man in New York. We don’t understand how Paul D. Ceglia went from writing code to producing wood pellets, but so be it.

In his lawsuit (via Gawker), he claims to have made a contract with Zuckerberg in 2003 to help design “The Face Book” for $1,000 plus 50% of the site’s revenue, with an added 1% per day until the site was launched. This sounds like the stupidest (and most typo-ridden) contract ever — Zuckerberg went to Harvard and this guy chops wood, so we’re skeptical (though we do know the Ivy League doesn’t teach common sense).

The Guardian reports that Facebook has “dismissed the case as ‘frivolous’ and ‘outlandish’, said it will fight it vigorously and pointed out that a lawsuit over a contract broken in 2003 is ‘almost certainly barred’ by the statute of limitation.”

The judge in Allegheny County Supreme Court is taking the claim very seriously though. Judge Thomas Brown has frozen Facebook’s assets while the case is pending…

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