THE HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS OF FACEBOOK

Originally Published Through Yahoo Voices

Facebook Suffers Another Attack by Former Partners Who Want More Than They Got

In 2003, Mark Zuckerberg developed Facebook. He worked with a number of people, including twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. They launched a competing product called ConnectU and charged Zuckerberg with theft of ideas and other legal issues.In some aspects, this case goes back to the root of the legal troubles that have surrounded the hugely popular Social Network. The brothers Winklevoss claim that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social application, delayed the development of ConnectU, and developed Facebook based upon their ideas and code.

Facebook settled the entire claim in 2008 by buying the ConnectU company, paying the brothers an estimated $65 million, and giving them stock options in Facebook itself that are currently valued at approx $100 million.

Now, the Brothers Winklevoss are crying foul, claiming their 2008 deal was made under fraudulent terms and drastically undervalued what their claim is to the value of their settlement.

It does not look like the judges in the 9th Circuit Court are interested in the Brothers’ legal attack against their fully approved settlement though. This battle began against last year, and was disregarded by US District Judge James Ware, who ruled against the Brothers’ attempts to appeal their settlement.

They took the case to the 9th Circuit court to attempt to fight it further. There, a 3-Judge panel looked at all the circumstances, but was unwilling to allow the legal challenge to proceed. As Judge J. Clifford Wallace stated ‘It wasn’t like these were individuals without help. Isn’t it a little difficult to say they were taken advantage of?

Both Winklevoss brothers are Harvard educated, and they had both prominent legal council, and the counsel of their Father who is known to be a leading Business Scholar.

The brothers claim their renewed interest has to do with the supposed valuation of the shares in ConnectU which were valued around $35 per share at the settlement. Now, they claim they had been duped, and the shared in connectU should have been valued at about $9. Which would mean a much larger spread of shares in Facebook than they currently have.

Facebook’s response to the 9th Circuit court is logical. ‘The ConnectU founders struck a deal that made them very, very rich and is making them richer every day. At some point, it is time to move on.‘ Attorney E. Joshua Rosenkranz told the 3-judge panel.

Overall opinion to this renewed attack upon Facebook has been in favor of Facebook and not the Brothers Winklevoss. Opinion has painted them as money hungry and greedmongers looking for a larger share of the pie they already got a share of, for no other purpose than because they feel they are entitled to a larger chunk of the reward for their labors.

The mentality of a lot of people in the USA seems to be ‘litigate until I am satisfied there is no more reason to‘ This is certainly true in this circumstance. The brothers already got a payout larger than 95% of the general population is ever likely to see, and due to what appears to be simple greed, are wanting even more.

What would you do?

Source:
San Jose Mercury News Facebook feud: Judges reluctant to reopen Winklevoss twins’ settlementHoward Mintz