Winklevoss twins lose Facebook legal challenge, must abide by settlement, court rules


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Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who claimed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea, cannot get out of the settlement they reached with Facebook, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The Winklevoss twins, along with Divya Narendra, had agreed in 2008 to settle their claims, but had hoped a legal appeal would overturn the settlement, now worth in excess of $160 million because of the soaring value of the privately held company.


For the last six years, the Winklevosses have been brawling with Facebook over their contention that Zuckerberg ripped off his Harvard classmates to build the world’s most popular social networking site.

A lower court had enforced the settlement.

In a statement Monday, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, Colin Stretch, said: ‘We appreciate the 9th Circuit’s careful consideration of this case and are pleased the court has ruled in Facebook’s favor.’

In the opinion from Chief Judge Alex Kozinski who wrote for the three-judge panel, he said: ‘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.’

He concluded: ‘At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached.’

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss could not be immediately reached for comment.


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-- Jessica Guynn