Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has won a legal battle against the Winklevoss twins who accuse him of stealing their idea. The brothers must now accept a previously agreed deal worth $65m.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss argued their settlement with Facebook was unfair because the company hid information from them during the original talks.
The brothers, along with Divya Narenda, started a company called ConnectU while studying at Harvard University.
They have always argued that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea when he was hired to work for them.
At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski
But the brothers’ argument was rejected by the court.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel: “At some point, litigation must come to an end.
“That point has now been reached.”
He added: “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.”
An attorney for the brothers, Jerome Falk Jr., said his clients would seek a rehearing before a larger, “en banc” group of Ninth Circuit judges.
That larger group can overrule a three-judge panel, although only a fraction of cases undergo such a review.
Should the Ninth Circuit refuse to rehear the case, the last option would be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Falk said he “respectfully” disagreed with the Ninth Circuit’s conclusions.
Mark Zuckerberg has always maintained Facebook was his creation.
The Winklevoss brothers are Olympic rowers who participated in the 2008 games in Beijing, and their saga with Zuckerberg was dramatised in the film “The Social Network.”
The film was nominated for best picture at the Oscars.
In the movie, actor Armie Hammer played both identical twins. Zuckerberg’s character snidely called them on-screen the “Winklevi.”
Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site and has made Mark Zuckerberg one of the world’s youngest billionaires.