May 17, 2011 8:52am PT by Eriq Gardner
The Winklevoss Twins Should End Their Hopeless Facebook Lawsuit
The Winklevoss twins better hope that there's at least four U.S. Supreme Court justices who enjoyed The Social Network enough to want to re-live the film. Otherwise, the Winklevi probably have as good a shot at directing the sequel as they do appearing in the high court to press allegations they deserve more money for their role in the founding of Facebook.
The dispute over Facebook's origins, for all intents and purposes, closed yesterday when the Ninth Circuit declined to allow an "en banc" rehearing of the Winklevoss twins' appeal.
Last month, a unanimous three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit ruled that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss must accept a cash and stock settlement with Facebook that had been valued somewhere between $65 million and $160 million. "At some point, litigation must come to an end," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote at the time. "That point has now been reached."
The Winklevoss twins didn't get the message. They moved for a rehearing before a larger group of Ninth Circuit justices. The request was declined without comment yesterday. Now, the Winklevosses say they are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Give it a rest, please.
Although the turmoil between the Winklevoss twins and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg provoked some interesting conversation about the nature of originality and ownership in the digital age -- featured, of course, in The Social Network -- the dispute as a legal matter stopped being about such things the moment the Winklevoss twins signed their names to a settlement.
From that point forward, the dispute became one of entitlement as these preppy Harvard grads with a secret, dark past pushed the idea that Facebook executives hid information about the company's value during settlement negotiations, had allegedly committed securities fraud, and thus, the twins should get more.
The U.S. Supreme Court typically doesn't care too greatly about relatively small disputes without constitutional ramifications. There's hardly any federal issue here. The only battle the Winklevoss twins really have left to fight is winning some sympathy from the public, but the twins are now losing that too thanks to endless and hopeless litigation.