The previous post began to discuss the continuing legal saga between Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and the Winklevoss twins as it was discussed in a recent piece in The New York Times. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss claim that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for an online social networking site while the three were students at Harvard. Also involved in the litigation is Divya Narendra.
The Winklevosses claim that they and Narendra approached Zuckerberg in 2003 with their idea for an online social networking site at Harvard called ConnectU and asked him to do the computer programming. They claim that Zuckerberg stalled on doing work for ConnectU and later launched Facebook in 2004. The twins and Narendra sued Facebook and Facebook countersued in 2005.
The parties reached a settlement in 2008, which awarded Facebook ownership of ConnectU and awarded $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook shares to the Winklevoss twins and Narendra. Some currently value the settlement at more than $140 million due to the increase in value of Facebook shares. Despite the seemingly large settlement, the Winklevoss twins will ask a federal appeals court next month to overturn the deal so that they can sue Facebook again for a better deal.
They risk losing what they have already won, but the Winklevoss twins have said that it was never about the money but about the principles involved. Among their allegations against Facebook, they claim that Facebook purposefully undervalued their shares when they drew up the settlement agreement, which the twins claim could be securities fraud. They also say that Facebook and its board members concealed instant messages that could be seen as damaging to Facebook’s case.
Upcoming: A look at Facebook’s side in the dispute.
Twins’ Facebook Fight Rages On (The New York Times)