Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is the Facebook Case Over? - Winklevoss Twins Want to Go to the Supreme Court

A settlement worth millions has not satisfied Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the Ivy-league twins made popular in the movie about Facebook, "Social Networking".

Despite recent legal defeats, the brothers have decided to take their feud with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg all the way to the Supreme Court. The strategy? : Get the Supreme Court to invalidate the settlement agreement from their lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. The theory?: The twins claim they were defrauded during negotiations for the settlement -- which was paid in Facebook stock -- claiming the actual value of the settlement was less than half what they were led to believe, i.e. this settlement was reached through securities fraud.

In 2004, the twins filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that Facebook creator Zuckerberg copied their idea and illegally used source code intended for the website Zuckerberg was hired to develop. It's reported that the twins settled in 2008 in a deal worth approximately $200 million today. A San Francisco appeals court rejected their latest attempt to renegotiate their earlier stock and cash agreement, and in his December 2010 ruling, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Justice Alex Kozinski decided that the settlement would stand. Chief Kozinski explained, “For whatever reason, they [the Winklevosses] now want to back out. Like the district court, we see no basis for allowing them to do so...At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached.”

Because the Supreme Court only hears limited cases, how likely is it that the twins will proceed? Should the Supreme Court re-open the doors?

Since the Winklevoss's initial lawsuit, Facebook has only grown, and will continue to do so. Even though the site is blocked in several countries including the People's Republic of China, Vietnam and Iran, as of January 2011 Facebook has more than 600 million active users.

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