Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss this week decided not to appeal a recent federal appeals court ruling to the US Supreme Court, effectively ending their battle with Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Generally speaking, the twins argue that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from them and then screwed them out of the proceeds from the company, which is now worth tens of billions of dollars. But the current dispute involves a 2008 settlement in which the Winklevoss twins say Facebook misrepresented its worth and thus underpaid them for their role in creating the company.
In a filing Wednesday, the twins said that, "after careful consideration," they've decided to not take their case to the US Supreme Court. No reason was given, but with the case ended, the Winklevosses will apparently now collect the $65 million in cash and stock they previously agreed to in an earlier settlement.
"We've considered this case closed for a long time, and we're pleased to see the other party now agrees," Facebook said in a statement. The company and Zuckerberg have routinely denied allegations by the Winklevoss twins, popularized in last year's hit movie The Social Network, that Zuckerberg stole Facebook from them. And though the evidence does strongly support the Winklevosses' accusations, the twins did settle the case, putting a legal end to that debate.
The $65 million settlement includes $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook stock. Given Facebook's current market dominance and strong share performance, it's likely that the stock holdings will dramatically increase in value over the next year. If the Winklevosses had simply accepted the 2008 settlement, that $45 million in stock would be worth over $150 million now.
Although Zuckerberg has now cleared his highest-profile legal hurdle, he still faces other charges related to the ownership of Facebook. An early Facebook investor named Paul Ceglia claims that Zuckerberg offered him a 50 percent share of the then-struggling company in 2003 for a meager $1,000. And Ceglia recently passed a lie detector test. One has to wonder how well Zuckerberg would do on such a test.