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Snapchat, U.S. messaging service startup, files for restraining order

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Snapchat, a service that allows users to exchange fleeting photo messages, has filed for a temporary restraining order against Frank Reginald Brown, who claims he came up with the idea for the company.

Snapchat last month rejected an acquisition offer from Facebook Inc that would have valued the company at $3 billion or more, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Snapchat said Brown disclosed confidential information about the company to the media, according to court documents filed in California on Friday.

Snapchat, started in 2011 by Stanford University students, is popular with teenagers and twenty-somethings. Users of the service can set a time limit of up to 10 seconds for how long photo messages may be viewed before they disappear.

The company said Brown had leaked deposition testimony that "Snapchat had designated as confidential under the Protective Order entered in this case," according to the documents.

Snapchat said it has provided confidential financial and investment information related to Snapchat's business in the case, and Brown has said he reserves the right to disclose the information to the public at any time.

Brown's lawyer plans to file a response on Monday, according to his law firm, Lee Tran Liang & Wang.

Brown is suing Snapchat for breach of partnership agreement, saying the company and its founders are denying his contribution in founding the company.

The case in the U.S. District Court Central District of California is Frank Reginald Brown vs. Snapchat Inc et al., 2:13-cv-08569.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; editing by Matthew Lewis)