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End of the road - or is it?

As the old saying goes, success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. Facebook is a pretty big success, so it's hardly surprising that a whole bunch of people have decided they invented it. The best known of the bunch, of course, is the 'Winklevii' - Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss, the former Harvard students turned Olympic rowers who say they hired Mark Zuckerberg to build a Facebook-like site only for him to nick their idea.

The twins had a point, and Facebook settled with them to the tune of $65 million in shares in 2008. But last year the twins relaunched their lawsuit, saying Facebook had cheated them in the settlement, to widespread derision.

Today a judge essentially slapped them down and said: give up, it's over, go home.

“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," the judge said.

"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. See Geoffrey A. Fowler & Liz Rappaport, Facebook Deal Raises $1 Billion, Wall St. J., Jan. 22, 2011, at B4 (reporting that investors valued Facebook at $50 billion FACEBOOK v. CONNECTU, INC. 4911—3.33 times the value the Winklevosses claim they thought Facebook’s shares were worth at the mediation).

"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.”

Pretty clear message there. So did the Winklevii accept this near-reprimand and give up? Hell to the no. Their lawyer wasted no time in announcing their intention to appeal. Ho hum...

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