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Winklevoss twins drop appeal of Facebook ruling to Supreme Court

June 23, 2011|Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from San Francisco — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have decided to abandon an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over their Facebook Inc. lawsuit.

In a federal court filing Wednesday in San Francisco, the Winklevosses said they had decided not to seek review of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the $65-million cash-and-stock settlement they reached in 2008 with Facebook.

The Winklevosses have been trying for years to undo the settlement, contending that Facebook duped them about the value of the shares they received. They persisted in their efforts even as the value of the settlement soared to more than $200 million along with the valuation of Facebook, one of Silicon Valley's hottest companies.

But the courts dealt the Winklevosses a series of legal setbacks, the latest in May when the 9th Circuit declined to review its decision. At the time, the twins pledged they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Legal observers had predicted that the appeal would be a long shot.

The Winklevosses could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman, said in an emailed statement, "We've considered this case closed for a long time, and we're pleased to see the other party now agrees."

It's the latest twist in the seven-year legal feud that has unfolded in federal courts on both coasts. The Winklevosses allege that Mark Zuckerberg, their Harvard schoolmate and Facebook's chief executive and founder, stole their idea for the world's most popular social networking service.

The Winklevosses may be stuck with the Facebook settlement. But they still plan to pursue another legal tack against Facebook.

In April, they asked a federal court in Boston to look into their claims that Facebook and its lawyers hid instant messages from them during litigation. That request had been suspended during the U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

"That part of the case will begin now," said Tyler Meade, the Winklevosses' attorney.

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