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Did Facebook founder give up his ownership stake?

A contract that Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg signed seven years ago may cost him his ownership stake in the company. The contract granted a New York businessman the aforementioned ownership stake back when Facebook was just starting out according to a Facebook Lawyer.

According to Bloomberg via LATimes.com, the Facebook Lawyer, Lisa Simpson said the following to a U.S. District Judge in Buffalo, N.Y. “Whether he signed this piece of paper, we're unsure at this moment.” Last month, a Wellsville, N.Y. resident (Paul Ceglia) also sued Facebook and its CEO in a court in his area.

The claim was that he hired Zuckerberg back in 2003 for two separate ventures. One of those ventures just happened to be “an already-in-progress project designed to offer the students of Harvard university access to a website [sic] similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title of 'The Face Book.’”

A judge in Mr. Ceglia’s local area granted his request for a widespread restraining order that prevents Facebook from selling any of its assets. Facebook responded swiftly by requesting that the case be made federal. Friday, after Facebook’s request was granted, Federal Judge Richard Arcara put a hold on the restraining order.

As of Tuesday, both parties agreed to allow the restraining order to expire while further negotiations are discussed. Ceglia’s attorney, Terrence Connors, explained that Ceglia hired Mark Zuckerberg to work on a street-mapping database project. The contract that was signed upon Zuckerberg’s hire involved a side project that Zuckerberg claimed that he had in the works.

It was the side project that became what is now known as Facebook. According to Facebook’s legal filings, it has challenged the timing of the case and the facts that were stated by Ceglia. One of Facebook’s spokesmen claimed that the lawsuit is “completely frivolous”. If this case succeeds, it will likely have serious implications for Facebook.

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