Technology

Snapchat settlement ends bitter ownership dispute

Evan Speigel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel has acknowledged Frank Reginald Brown's contribution

Messaging service Snapchat has ended a bitter dispute over the app's beginnings, in a private settlement.

Frank Reginald Brown, known as Reggie, had said he had come up with the original idea of images and videos that "disappear".

Snapchat's chief executive, Evan Spiegel, initially disputed that involvement but has now acknowledged Mr Brown's role.

Recent investments have valued Snapchat at about $10bn (£6.2bn).

'Vigorously defend'

In December last year, Mr Brown had said he should have ownership rights.

"It's definitely over £1bn we're seeking," his lawyer, Luan Tran, had told Forbes magazine.

Mr Brown had said he had shared his original idea with Mr Spiegel and Snapchat's chief technology officer, Bobby Murphy, when they had all been students at Stanford University.

But, he had said, he had been then "excluded from all participation, profit and interest" in the partnership.

'Sexual harassment'

Also in 2013, Mr Spiegel said: "We are aware of the allegations, believe them to be utterly devoid of merit, and will vigorously defend ourselves against this frivolous suit."

And later in the same year, Snapchat filed a restraining order against Mr Brown, alleging he had disclosed confidential information about the company to the media.

But on Wednesday Mr Spiegel said: "We acknowledge Reggie's contribution to the creation of Snapchat and appreciate his work in getting the application off the ground."

He added: "We are pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter in a manner that is satisfactory to Mr Brown and the company."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Spiegel is reported to have rejected a $3bn takeover offer from Facebook

The terms of the settlement have not been made public - but as the statement made no mention of Mr Brown's alleged ownership, a payment as large as the £1bn his lawyer had said they had been seeking is considered unlikely.

In a separate case also resolved this week, dating service Tinder settled with its former vice-president of marketing, Whitney Wolfe.

Ms Wolfe had accused Tinder's founders of sexual harassment.

The terms of that settlement were also confidential - but Tinder said it contained no admission of guilt.

Related Topics

More on this story