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OFF BEAT: Facebook sues man who changed name to Mark Zuckerberg


PALO ALTO, Calif.—Given that much of Facebook’s history has played out in civil courts, it was perhaps a fait accompli that the Internet giant eventually would sue Mark Zuckerberg.

However, the Mark Zuckerberg being sued is not the founder of Facebook.

An Israeli businessman formerly named Rotem Guez was notified in September that his online social media marketing company, Like Store, was in violation of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook Inc.’s terms of services contract.

Perkins Coie L.L.P., the Seattle-based law firm representing Facebook, sent Mr. Guez a cease-and-desist order on Sept. 1, threatening to sue him if the site was not dismantled.

This month, apparently in response to Facebook’s letter, Mr. Guez had his name legally changed in Israel to Mark Zuckerberg, the name of Facebook’s famous founder. In a video posted on Mr. Guez’s website, an Israeli Ministry of Home Affairs clerk reluctantly grants his request, pointing out several times that he may experience problems given Mr. Zuckerberg’s fame.

According to letters from Facebook’s attorneys, two companies that Mr. Guez owns—including Like Store—violate Facebook’s terms of service by selling fan page “likes” to brands.

In each letter to the former Mr. Guez, Facebook demands that he shut down the websites and that he refrain from ever accessing Facebook’s “site, services, platform or network for any reason whatsoever.”

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