Sunday, April 17, 2011

"The Social Network 2": More Facebook War Stories

I liked the movie, but I can't say I thought it was a great candidate for an Academy Award for Best Picture. But as interesting as "The Social Network" was as a movie, the story didn't end there. As you may recall, the Winklevoss twins famously claimed that Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from them. As it often does, litigation (but not hilarity) ensued. The lawsuit was eventually settled. But then the Winklevoss twins decided that they had been defrauded by Facebook in the settlement negotiations. They took the somewhat unusual step of suing again - this time to unwind the settlement - now worth about $180 million in cash and Facebook stock. Since we're on the subject of movies, I am reminded of the title of one of Woody Allen's earliest and funniest movies: "Take the Money and Run". But that's just me.

Now a three-Judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has tossed the Winklevoss' legal claim. The opinion is written by Judge Alex Kozinski, who is well known in legal circles for writing cogent and occasionally humorous opinions. This one is worth reading, if for no other reason than it describes in some detail many of the steps that were taken during the settlement negotiations and afterwards. You can see the sequel to "The Social Network" in the works. Apparently the Winklevoss' are still not satisfied. News reports indicate that they intend to ask a full panel of 9th Circuit judges to review their case. It would appear that the Winklevoss' can afford to pursue their claims. Or perhaps, as Judge Kozinski wrote in the opinion itself: "The ensuing litigation.....gave bread to many lawyers".