back to article Facebook back in court fighting claims it nicked British data centre IP

Mark Zuckerberg won't appear in front of Parliament, but Facebook is in the dock again this week as part of a long-running court case over the alleged theft of British trade secrets. BladeRoom is a Cheltenham-based operation specialising in energy-efficient modular data centres. Founder Paul Rogers designed industrial kitchens …

  1. EastFinchleyite


    One piece of IP that Facebook could do with purloining is the Mountainview Ad-slinger's slogan

    "Don't Be Evil"

    Any damages for the IP theft would probably be small as the slogan is not being used at the moment.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Reputation

      Hahahaha that is not even their real corporate motto and FB are an order of magnitude worse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reputation

        "Hahahaha that is not even their real corporate motto"

        It is...

        It is the motto of their corporate code of conduct. A simple Google of the term would have saved you from looking a bit silly...

        "As of 2017, the motto is still cited in the preface to Google's Code of Conduct:

        "Don't be evil." Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But "Don't be evil" is much more than that...

        The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put "Don't be evil" into practice..."'t_be_evil

        1. Richocet

          Re: Reputation

          The execs refused to endorse this corporate motto about 10 years ago. Even though it is in their corporate code of conduct in a document somewhere, if powerful members of Google refuse to accept it, it isn't really their motto IMHO.

        2. GIRZiM Bronze badge

          Re: Reputation

          > It is the motto of their corporate code of conduct.

          Which conveniently glosses over the fact that "the official corporate philosophy of Google[11] does not contain the words "Don't be evil"", that Chris hoofnagle argued in 2009 that "Google should abandon the motto", that Eric Schmidt thought "the stupidest rule ever", that "On the user-facing 'What We Believe' page, Google appeared to replace the original motto altogether" in such a way as for it to no longer be an imperative but more of an observation that it is possible to not be evil, or that there is no clear definition of what the word 'evil' means in Google's mind nor even ever has been.

          Nice bit of hand-waving on the part of Google there - not a lot of substance though and a fair amount of wriggling.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reputation

            that Eric Schmidt thought "the stupidest rule ever",

            "In a 2013 NPR interview, Eric Schmidt revealed that when Larry Page and Sergey Brin recommended the motto as a guiding principle for Google, he "thought this was the stupidest rule ever", but then changed his opinion after a meeting where an engineer successfully referred to the motto when expressing concerns about a planned advertising product, which was eventually cancelled"

            Also, Google's motto at the time was 'Always Do Good'

            Always Do Good literally means Don't Do Evil.

    2. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: Reputation

      Except they'd change it slightly to avoid being called on their theft... so it would read more like

      'Don't get caught being Evil'

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: Reputation

        They could just rebrand as 11th Commandment Inc.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NDAs are bullshit

    Go'on read one, one day!

    They make ridiculous claims and assertions because none of it is enforcable except through Bren contract laws.

    If you are the little guy then you don't get to call the shots.

    I was once asked to sign an nda retrospectively, saying that I would effectively not work in IT for a year and never work in medical IT again. After telling them to go fuck thenselves, I eventually had to get a lawyer to tell them to get fucked.

    Now I just refuse to sign one ... Ever... And now I can't see the magic leap device, boo hoo

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: NDAs are bullshit

      Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete are two completely different legal animals.

      There is nothing in a normal non-disclosure that would prevent you from working in the same industry or vertical market.

      However, a non-compete under the guise of a non-disclosure is not completely unpresidented. I too have been asked (and refused) to sign such documents in the past. One of them was to assist in the broker of the sale and transfer of some domain names that would have effectively prohibited me from ever working in an ISP environment for the rest of my life. No, they didn't get a signature from me. That is why you read before signing...

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: NDAs are bullshit

        I signed a contract once for a very good wage that stated if I broke the contract, left the contract, or even failed to turn up on time then I owed the umbrella group Alexander Mann £10,000. They mucked me around and I walked, and they threatened me with the £10,000 clause. Total BS. My brother in law is a QC and he told me the contract was "restraint of trade" and no court would pay attention to them. It's a scare tactic.

      2. JaitcH

        Re: NDAs are bullshit - Must Use The Same Dictionary As Trump.

        'Unpresidented': Donald Trump invents the Guardian's word of the year.

        Guess Donn Bly deserves a mention in The Guardian, too.

  3. Grease Monkey

    It seems hopelessly naive to discuss your IP with another (much bigger) company in this way.

    We keep seeing broadly similar things happening again and again. For example writers discuss the idea for a movie with a studio and a couple of years later that studio releases what seems to be a very familiar film. Should the writers sue what happens is that the studio will offer an out of court settlement tied up with an NDA. Should the writers refuse the settlement the studio will simply outlawyer the writers and probably win in court by stating that the idea for the movie was only broadly similar, that there were lots of differences or that this movie was already in the planning stage at the time they spoke to the writers and this is why they rejected the writer's idea.

    The difference between the movie idea and a datacentre cooling system isn't that much really. The only real difference being that you might be more likely to be able to prove patent breach in the application of the cooling idea, much harder to prove copyright breach in terms of a movie idea once it has been turned into a full blown script.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "It seems hopelessly naive to discuss your IP with another (much bigger) company in this way."


    This is SOP for US corporations and has been since at least the time of Philo Farnsworth and even the patents of AG Bell (who had a very helpful lawyer with good friends in the USPO of the time).

    Later there was the case of Ford and the intermittent wiper blade drive.

    These are only the famous ones. You can bet there are plenty more out there. NCR comes to mind.

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