Snapchat wants a gag order on an early partner who is suing them for potentially billions of dollars.
The law firm Quinn Emanual Urquhart and Sullivan, representing Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday to silence the opposition in the case that strikes at who owns one of the fastest growing tech companies.
Snapchat, a pioneer in disappearing photo sharing, is backed by VC heavyweights such as Benchmark Capital. The company could be worth more than $4 billion, depending on a reported fundraising round and recent acquisition interest from the likes of Facebook.
The problem is that Reggie Brown, a onetime Stanford classmate and frat “bro” to the co-founders, is suing for a third of the company, claiming that Snapchat was his idea.
Recent leaks from Brown’s camp to Business Insider, including video taped legal testimony, seem to support Brown's case. And now, new legal filings first posted today by TechCrunch, show that Snapchat wants the leaks to stop, and asked the judge to step in.
The company said it is concerned that sensitive information about the company, like its financials and user stats, are being shared in the case. Such material has yet to make its way to the press.
Snapchat’s filing also said that Brown was in the process of granting exclusive interviews to some members of the press, including maybe even a GQ profile.
Needless to say, the company wants his silence, and they may have to pay for it. Even though there is no contract assigning Brown equity in the company, he is still in a strong position to win a settlement.
For example, there is some correspondence showing that he came up with the idea for disappearing photo-sharing, and in a deposition even the CEO, Spiegel, said his former friend was likely entitled to something for his contributions.