Snapchat cofounders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy have finally settled an ownership dispute with former Stanford University colleague Frank Reginald “Reggie” Brown, admitting that it was the latter who originally came up with the app idea. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
Back in February 2013, Brown filed a lawsuit against Spiegel and Murphy, claiming that he came up with the idea of 'self-destructing messages' in the spring of 2011 while a junior at Stanford, which he then shared with Spiegel, who was his friend and dorm-mate at that time, suggesting they work together on turning it into a company. The two then recruited Murphy to work on the project.
But after a contentious argument, Brown alleged in the lawsuit, he was kicked out of the project just a month before the photo-sharing app, which was originally called Picaboo, launched in July 2011. He claimed to own one-third of the company.
"Reggie Brown originally came up with the idea of creating an application for sending disappearing picture messages while he was a student at Stanford University", Snapchat said in a statement. "He then collaborated with Spiegel and Murphy on the development of Snapchat during its early and most formative days".
The statement also quoted Spiegel, who is the CEO of Snapchat, as stating that the matter has been resolved "in a manner that is satisfactory to Mr. Brown and the Company". He also acknowledged Brown’s contribution to the creation of Snapchat and appreciated his work in getting the application off the ground.
Interestingly, Snapchat's announcement of the settlement came at a time when all eyes were on Apple's big product launch event, suggesting that the company hoped the news would go unnoticed.
Back in December, Snapchat turned down an acquisition offer from Facebook valued at $3 billion or more in cash.