A judge has delayed a hearing in the case against social networking site Facebook, which accuses the founder of stealing source code and graphic designs.

Mark Zuckerberg, the 23 year old chief executive of Facebook, is accused by his former Harvard university classmates which founded ConnectU.com. They say Zuckerberg stole the ideas while working on a separate website in 2004.

Facebook's lawyers rejected the claims and asked Massachusetts federal Judge Douglas Woodlock to dismiss the case, according to press reports.

Woodlock gave the plaintiffs until August 8 to present more evidence to bolster their case so it could move forward.

The suit asks for ConnectU to be given ownership of Facebook.

Complaints were first filed in August 2004, when Facebook had only 200,000 registered users.

It has since grown to become the second largest social networking website in the United States, with nearly 28 million unique visitors as of June, according to web measurement service comScore. Its larger competitor, MySpace, has just over 70 million unique visitors.