Twins who say Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social network site may be out of legal options after years of litigation.
11, 2011, was a memorable legal day for Facebook and its co-founder and CEO,
Mark Zuckerberg. One lengthy bit of litigation is petering out, while one is
just starting up.
first lawsuit-so long-term in nature (eight years) that a feature film about it
has come and gone-ground to a halt when a federal court of appeals panel of
three judges ruled that twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss cannot
renege on a $65 million settlement they made with Zuckerberg in 2008 and
litigate for more money.
the newer case, New York software developer Paul Ceglia, who claims to have
rights to 50 percent of Zuckerberg's equity in Facebook, said
April 11 he has emailed proof from Zuckerberg of his claim and will litigate in
. Facebook has called Ceglia "a scam artist."
Winklevosses have been contending legally for years that Zuckerberg stole the
idea for Facebook from them. The Academy Award-winning film "The Social
Network" dramatized the story of the case.
Winklevosses, Harvard University classmates of Zuckerberg, had asked the court
in January to revisit a $65 million legal settlement they signed with
Zuckerberg in 2008. The brothers contend that Zuckerberg stole their idea after
he was hired by them to program their social networking site, called ConnectU,
the settlement, the Winklevosses received $20 million in cash and $45 million
worth of stock valued at $36 per share in the deal.
the time of the 2008 settlement, Facebook made no admittance that Zuckerberg
had stolen the twins' idea in agreeing to end the litigation. In fact,
Zuckerberg has consistently maintained that Facebook was his creation.
three-judge panel said in its ruling April 11 that it saw no reason to reopen
their case against Facebook, the privately held-and world's largest-social
networking company that has been valued at about $55 billion.
Winklevosses are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to
gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the
marketplace," the three Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges wrote.
"At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been
the Winklevosses and their lawyers didn't understand the ruling. Jerome Falk, a
lawyer representing the Winklevosses, released a statement after the hearing
saying that his legal team will file for a rehearing within two weeks.
my judgment, the opinion raises extremely significant questions of federal law
that merit review by the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals," Falk said
in a statement.