A federal appeals court this week ruled that litigation against Facebook by three former Harvard colleagues who claim Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social networking site must come to an end. Twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narenda settled their dispute with the company in 2008 and in the settlement they agreed not to pursue further claims against Facebook. The plaintiffs, however, tried to argue that Facebook had misled them about the company’s value in 2008, which meant that the agreement was unenforceable.
Facebook’s attorneys denied that Facebook had acted fraudulently and argued that it was the plaintiffs’ responsibility to determine how much the company was worth. The federal appeals court judges agreed with Facebook. The judge who wrote the decision said that litigation must come to an end sometime, and this case had reached its end-point. The judges believed the 2008 deal was enforceable and, therefore, claims must stop.
The twins and Narenda clearly thought they got a raw deal considering that when they were given a share of Facebook in 2008, it was estimated to be worth $65 million. The popular social networking site is now estimated to be worth more than $60 billion.
Zuckerberg, the twins and Narenda were all students at Harvard at the same time. The twins say they hired Zuckerberg to help them get their social networking company, ConnectU, started. They say Zuckerberg stalled in his work and then launched Facebook alone. The plot of the birth of Facebook is chronicled (and dramatized) in the recent Oscar-winning film, “The Social Network.”
Appeals court upholds Facebook deal from 2008 (Los Angeles Times)