Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins portrayed as handsome Chiclet-toothed rowing partners who battled with Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, seem to have reached a legal impasse in their fight against Facebook.
As you may remember, the Winklevoss twins (along with Divya Narendra) started a dating website called ConnectU while at Harvard. They claim that when they hired fellow student Zuckerberg to work on the site, he stole their idea, delaying ConnectU while secretly producing Facebook ... and eventually many bazillions of dollars.
Zuckerberg has always denied the allegations, but in 2008, a settlement was reached to the tune of $65 million. The Winklevosses settled their dispute and signed a release of all claims against Facebook, so all's well that ends well, right?
Wrong! The Winklevoss twins have been busy since then, trying to score a higher settlement by claiming that Facebook didn't disclose an accurate valuation of its shares.
A U.S. appeals court ruled Monday that despite their best efforts, the twins can't back out of the settlement. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote,
The 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. (…) At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached.
Tragically, it sounds like they'll have to make do with that $65 million. Well, it's actually over $100 million now, since Facebook shares have appreciated since the settlement.
Then again, California-based Facebook is now valued at $50 billion—so perhaps it's not surprising that the Winklevosses aren't giving up quite yet. They plan to seek a hearing in front of a larger group of judges, and if that fails, their last option will be to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Who knows what really happened back at Harvard, but you almost have to admire the Winklevosses' tenacity. This can't really be about money at this point, can it? It's got to be about proving a point, that some of the company's assets rightfully belong to them for coming up with an idea—which may or may not have turned into Facebook.
Do you think the twins deserve more of Facebook's money?
Image via SplashNews