back to article Snapchat seeks to muzzle 'third founder' leaks in lawsuit over who invented it

Selfie service Snapchat has filed a temporary restraining order against Frank Reginald Brown, a former friend and frat brother of co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who claims that he helped come up with the idea for the company. The firm, which allows its mainly teen users to exchange auto-deleting photo messages, has …


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  1. Khaptain

    Money money money ( Abba in the background)

    Isn't it strange how quickly friends become enemies when money is involved.

    Question : how does he know about the technical details if he wasn't part of the original team ? Was he genuinley part of the team or did he "manage to obtain a copy of the details".

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Money money money ( Abba in the background)

      It's in the article. His legal team released stuff from the info given to them as part of the disclosure process of the trial. Normally this is a big no-no. I believe Samsung's lawyers are under investigation in one of their various fights with Apple, because someone on the legal team is alleged to have given some info to someone on the board of Samsung - and that info was for outside lawyers only, and not even to be passed to Samsung's counsel, let alone their executive staff.

      The judge will have set the specific rules for the case. Breaking those is therefore directly pissing off the judge, and therefore a really stupid thing to do. Although the lawyers are claiming that Snapchat said nasty things about their client to the press, and therefore made certain documents public property by doing so. That sounds like bollocks to me, the sort of barrack room lawyer stuff you get in comment threads online, but then I'm not a lawyer either, so I've no idea how the rules work.

      1. MrF

        Talk about burying the lede...

        but then I'm not a lawyer either, so I've no idea how the rules work.

        Deserves pride of place as your topic sentence, no?


  2. bigtimehustler

    How can you be held in contempt if a judge has not already ordered you not to do something? Contempt can not be applied in retrospect, it makes no sense as you can not be in contempt of something that has not been stated.

    1. Don Jefe

      Lawyers and police are at high risk of suffering delusions of grandeur. They regularly attempt to interpret the law themselves and will continue repeating and enforcing their version of the law until a judge (hopefully) stops them.

      In this case the lawyer is saying that public disclosure of documents related to an ongoing case are hindering the courts ability to make a sound decision. Those involved in the case could have their opinions swayed after reading public/expert commentary on the matter. By undermining the courts ability to rule fairly those who released the information are in contempt.

      Basically the lawyer thinks that his case is at risk if he loses control of the narrative and the flow of information. Is the release of that information an act of contempt? I've got no idea. But I do know that if the judge determines the release of the Information was wrong then an appeal of any decision is guaranteed and nothing substantial will happen in the case for years.

      This whole mess could very well prevent Snapchat from selling all or part of itself until the case is final and all appeals have been heard. Law prohibits the sale or transfer of goods with disputed ownership. Then again maybe that's what this '3rd founder' wants. Perhaps he's angry and is trying to scuttle everything.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Don Jefe,

        Documents handed over as part of the discovery process in a trial are normally not supposed to be revealed. Often the legal firm aren't even allowed to show them to their own clients, let alone random journalists. That's part of the deal that allows you to be allowed to peek through people's internal emails and design and pricing documents.

        Whether Snapchat have then broken the rules and made them fair-game for publishing is beyond my legal knowledge. I'd be surprised if that's the case though, as I'd have thought that would be one for the judge to have to rule on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not being allowed to discuss ongoing court proceedings is an automatic restriction; you don't have to be told, although your lawyer should have mentioned it.

      1. Charles Manning


        "Not being allowed to discuss ongoing court proceedings is an automatic restriction; you don't have to be told, although your lawyer should have mentioned it."

        That only applies to jurors.

        Unless the judge explicitly suppresses details, everything can be made public. Big PR efforts are quite commonly used to sway public opinion and thereby pressure decision makers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Errr

          "That only applies to jurors."

          This might be a difference between the UK and the US, actually.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    But, but... muh genius self-destroying selfie idea.

    The firm added that it would suffer great or irreparable injury if Brown was allowed to keep leaking its confidential data.

    And nothing of value would be lost.

  4. frank ly

    Mirror symmetry

    Facebook situation in the mirror?

  5. chris lively

    I have to say that the snapchat management were idiots for dismissing a $3bn payday. That's a whole lot of money for an app that FB, or really any other company, can reproduce. As the competitors roll out that $3bn is likely to become a valuation of around $3,000 ... Especially when you understand that teens are fickle customers who jump ship on a dime.

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