Winklevoss, Facebook legal battle lives on

Updated: 2011-06-15 12:31
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Winklevoss, Facebook legal battle lives on
File photo: (up) Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg clocked in at No. 52 with an estimated worth of $13.5 billion, up from 212 and $4 billion in 2010.

Cameron Winklevoss (L) and twin brother Tyler Winklevoss are seen leaving the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a hearing on a settlement dispute with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco, California, in this file combination photo taken January 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW YORK -- It may take the US Supreme Court to end a years-long battle between a pair of Olympic rowing twins and Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg has lost a court ruling that he hoped would lead to the end of litigation by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who accused him of stealing their idea for the world's most popular social networking website. Their feud was dramatized in the 2010 film "The Social Network."

The identical twin brothers are challenging a San Francisco federal appeals court ruling that upheld a $65 million cash-and-stock settlement they reached with Facebook in 2008.

While they appeal to the Supreme Court, related litigation will be on hold, the appeals court ruled late on Monday.

That means Facebook and Zuckerberg cannot seek the dismissal of a separate lawsuit in Boston federal court.

Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004 in his Harvard University dormitory room in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"Facebook bargained for litigation peace," Zuckerberg's lawyers had argued in a filing with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued Monday's ruling. "The time to end this litigation has long since passed."

Jerome Falk, a lawyer for the Winklevosses, did not immediately return a call seeking a comment.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss view the $65 million accord as fraudulent because Facebook hid information from them and believe they deserve more money.

The 9th Circuit disagreed, saying in an April 11 ruling that the accord was "quite favorable" for the twins, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in rowing.

Facebook might go public in early 2012 in an offering that could value the Palo Alto, California-based company at more than $100 billion, CNBC television said on Monday.

An upstate New York wood pellet salesman, Paul Ceglia, is separately suing Facebook and Zuckerberg, saying he contracted for a big stake in the company.