Winklevosses lose appeal, win $100 million

Ronny Kerr · April 11, 2011 · Short URL:

As one of the most financially lucrative legal disappointments ever, twins' appeal finally ends

Unfortunately for the Winklevoss twins, their second lawsuit against Facebook didn’t go over as well as the first. Still, it’s hard to consider $100 million a misfortune for anybody.

According to a ruling filed Monday U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and associated defendants will have to live with a $100 million settlement, or the current value of their $65 million in Facebook shares.

The ruling concludes:

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. And the courts might have obliged, had the Winklevosses not settled their dispute and signed a release of all claims against Facebook. With the help of a team of lawyers and a financial advisor, they made a deal that appears quite favorable in light of recent market activity. For whatever reason, they 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.

The “recent market activity” highlighted (bolding is my own) by the ruling refers to an article in the Wall Street Journal from mid-January reporting that Facebook had raised over $1 billion from Digital Sky Technologies (DST) and Goldman Sachs that valued the social network at a $50 billion valuation, or “3.33 times the value the Winklevosses claim they thought Facebook’s shares were worth at the mediation.”

Originally, the Winklevosses filed suit in 2004 against Facebook and its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, for allegedly copying their idea and even some source code.

“We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s careful consideration of this case and are pleased the court has ruled in Facebook’s favor,” said Colin Stretch, deputy general counsel of Facebook, in a typically emotionless statement.

Might we see yet another appeal? To the Supreme Court, perhaps? It sounds crazy, but hey, how else are we going to have David Fincher and Trent Reznor work on The Social Network 2?

image source.

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