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Facebook CEO Won’t Have to Answer Questions in Patent Case

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg won’t have to give pretrial testimony in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by a mobile networking company.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan today denied a request by Wireless Ink Corp. to depose Facebook co-founder Zuckerberg.

“If the CEO of Facebook has relevant knowledge not readily available from other sources, Wireless Ink ought to be able to establish this from documents produced in discovery or the testimony of other employees of Facebook,” Castel said in his order.

Wireless Ink, which operates the Winksite social networking service, said in a complaint filed in 2010 that Facebook Mobile and Google Inc.’s Google Buzz infringed a patent related to ways of offering content on mobile devices.

Facebook’s lawyers said in a letter to the judge that Wireless Ink “has not identified any relevant knowledge that Mr. Zuckerberg uniquely possesses that cannot be obtained from other witnesses.”

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, is planning an initial public offering of stock.

The case is Wireless Ink Corp. v. Facebook Inc., 10-01841, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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