Previous posts have covered the ongoing litigation between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and three men and former Harvard colleagues who claim he stole their idea for an online social networking site. Twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with Divya Narenda, sued Zuckerberg and Facebook for allegedly stealing their idea while at Harvard. The parties reached a settlement in 2008, which included awarding shares in the company to the plaintiffs in exchange for the plaintiffs agreeing to end litigation against Facebook.
The twins may have ended litigation for a short time, but were soon back in court claiming that Facebook had fraudulently undervalued shares in their company while negotiating the settlement in 2008. The company’s value rose significantly following the settlement and so did the shares that the twins owned, but they claim that they should have been given a larger piece of the pie.
A three-judge panel in San Francisco ruled last week that litigation needed to come to an end in the case because the twins and Narenda had agreed to do so when they signed the settlement. The twins weren’t ready to give up that easily, however, and they have now appealed to have the decision reviewed by a larger panel of judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The twins and Narenda want to bring their original case back to court even if it means voiding the settlement and possibly losing everything. The shares that they were given are now worth $100 million more than they were in 2008, but the twins have said that the case is not about the money, but about the principles involved. They want the settlement (and, thus, the agreement to end litigation) voided on the basis of fraud and to have the chance to bring their case back to court.
Winklevosses Seek Again to Re-Open Facebook Settlement (Bloomberg Businessweek)