Economy

Not Over: Winklevoss Twins File New Suit Against Facebook

Cameron Winklevoss, left, and twin brother Tyler take the start of the Men's pair repechage  at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. i i

Cameron Winklevoss, left, and twin brother Tyler take the start of the Men's pair repechage at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Gregory Bull/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Gregory Bull/AP
Cameron Winklevoss, left, and twin brother Tyler take the start of the Men's pair repechage  at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Cameron Winklevoss, left, and twin brother Tyler take the start of the Men's pair repechage at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Gregory Bull/AP

If you thought Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were taking their millions to some pretty island where they could row all day, you were wrong.

If that made no sense to you, here's a primer: The Winklevoss twins, as they've come to be known, have been involved in a seven-year-long dispute with Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg. They claim that during their time at Harvard, Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook so they are entitled to some cash. The suit was settled and the twins and Divya Narendra received $20 million cash and $45 million in Facebook stock. But then the twins argued they were misled about how much Facebook was worth and they appealed and appealed claiming they were owed more money. Yesterday, they announced they would not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and they were dropping the suit. (The rowing reference, by the way, is because the pair are Olympic rowers.)

But today, as the New York Times reports, the brothers have filed another suit against Facebook:

Now, they are pursuing a different legal path, claiming in the Massachusetts court that as the two parties engaged in settlement discussions, Facebook withheld instant messages dating back to 2004 that purportedly show Mr. Zuckerberg plotting to steal the idea the Winklevosses and Mr. Narendra had for a social network. The instant messages, which have surfaced in blogs and in a New Yorker article, show Mr. Zuckerberg using an expletive to tell a friend he was planning to deceive the Winklevoss twins. In another message,obtained by the blog Business Insider, Mr. Zuckerberg refers to a Web site that the Winklevosses had asked him to help with: "Someone is already trying to make a dating site. But they made a mistake haha. They asked me to make it for them. So I'm like delaying it so it won't be ready until after the facebook thing comes out."

The technology news site ZDnet says the suit faces an uphill battle. Courts have already said the twins have to stick to their settlement. Now, ZDnet reports:

Not only do they now have to prove that Facebook violated discovery procedures, but they also still have to persuade the courts to overturn the settlement. That's going to be really difficult given how many times the group has been told to just take the $65 million already.

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