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June 23, 2011

Winklevoss Twins Drop Possible Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court over Facebook Dispute

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor



The Winklevoss twins who sued Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert), have decided to drop their appeal in the case.

The three have been embroiled in a lengthy dispute that stemmed from an allegation that Zuckerberg stole the idea for the site from them when they were each students at Harvard.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss – both scholar-athletes turned entrepreneurs – decided not to appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Another plaintiff, Divya Narenda, will not appeal either.

News about the possible appeal came from a short filing in federal court on Wednesday, which said in part that the twins gave "careful consideration" before making their decision, according to media reports.

They had argued Zuckerberg stole the idea for the wildly popular social media site from their concept called “ConnectU.”

A federal appeals court told the trio in April they were entitled to only the original 2008 settlement with Facebook (News - Alert) for $20 million in cash and $45 million in private stock.

“The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the twins, saying they had been represented by a squadron of Silicon Valley lawyers and their father, a noted business professor,” The Associated Press reported.

The Winklevosses had claimed that Facebook withheld information about the company’s real value.

“Their stock is now estimated to be worth more than $100 million,” reported The Washington Post.

In a statement to Bloomberg News, Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Facebook, said, “We’ve considered this case closed for a long time, and we’re pleased to see the other party now agrees.”

The dispute was made famous in the Academy award-winning movie, “The Social Network.”

In another case, Paul Ceglia is alleging that Zuckerberg agreed to give him a share of Facebook in 2003. Facebook denies the allegations.

In related company news, Facebook may be planning to have an Initial Public Offering in 2012, according to TMCnet.

In addition, the company could be worth as much as $100 billion, TMCnet adds. Goldman Sachs valued Facebook at $50 billion earlier this year.

The success of the company was seen as a motivating force for individuals who challenged whether they owned a piece of Facebook.

In addition, Facebook may have close to 500 private investors, leading to the push for an IPO, TMCnet reported.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires companies with over 500 investors to disclose their financial information on a quarterly basis, TMCnet added.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.


Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell


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