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It is A New Year: Time for the Winklevoss Twins to Move On?

January 2, 2011

The New York Times, NY Magazine, and the PC blogs, are all aflutter with new efforts by the Winklevoss twins to sue Mark Zuckerberg all over again.   The twins claimed that Zuckerberg stole their idea; Zuckerberg has contended the twins never had his idea of the cybercommunity of Facebook, seeking to create only a create a social dating site that appealed to the snob appeal of a Harvard address. 

In the nine years since Zuckerberg founded Facebook, there has only been one other start-up creation by one of the twins,  Cameron’s, a Web site that offers information about “people, places and parties” in New York, Los Angeles and the Hamptons, an apparent  recycling of the original idea of a dating site with social cachet. 

While a quick glance at indicates a vision of a cybercommunity limited to wealthysingles, the twins still want to believe that they would have created the broad web community that crossed race, religious, and class lines: Facebook.   They have even sued their old attorneys, who won a settlement worth 140 million dollars now, for accepting too little. 

Meanwhile, the twins are asking to reopen the same law suit that was shown in the movie, The Social Network.   

From my viewpoint, the gentlemen had a weak case the first time around.   It was reported that the trial court was apparently ready to toss the case out on summary judgment until Zuckerberg  decided to settle rather than go to trial against such attractive plaintiffs.  While it is highly unlikely that a court will allow the twins a second shot at the prize as  finality is presumed when a settlement is approved by a court, this time around, the twins may not be as lucky as before.  In my opinion, time is not on the twins’ side as the creative genius of a  Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or other web wunderkinds, has not been shown. 

What do you think?

The New York column follows:

The Winklevoss Twins Are Just As Angry With Mark Zuckerberg Today As They Were When They Sued Him the First Time

  • 12/31/10 at 12:55 AM


The Winklevoss twins and their arms.

The Winklevoss twins and their arms.

Sometimes, very good-looking and privileged people fail to develop other favorable traits, or fail to shed unfavorable ones. Of course, lots of people are smart, beautiful, and lucky, and God bless them. But, occasionally, when you grow up, say, tall, rich, and handsome, you might not have to work to attract the other (or same) sex, and then you might never develop certain evolutionary pluses, like the ability to overcome adversity, accept defeat, and learn humility. Because, frankly, why would you? Anyway, we’re not bitter about this at all. We’re just saying. That might be the case with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the identical twins and Harvard graduates who claim they had the original idea for Facebook, and that Mark Zuckerberg stole it. Because nearly nine years later, they’re still talking about the one thing that didn’t work out for them.Nary a profile can be written about the Winklevoss twins without mention of their formidable hotness and enviable background: “They grew up in affluence in Greenwich, Connecticut,” the New York Times explains today. “They are as physically striking and imposing as they appeared in the film The Social Network. They are 6-foot-5, and their frames are lean and muscular, shaped by years of rowing.” And so on. They’re buff, and, sexiest of all, there’s two of ’em.But their sculpted physiques haven’t helped them move on. After suing Zuckerberg in 2004 and settling for $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook shares, the twins now plan to ask a federal appeals court to undo the initial settlement so they can sue again for more money, “on principle, for vindication.” (Though, in an unrelated incident, they have been sued, too.) And they’re just as mad at Zuckerberg this time around. The Times explains:

Their battle with Mr. Zuckerberg is what has had them riled up. “The principle is that Mark stole the idea,” Tyler said. When they talked about him and told their version of the founding of Facebook, they helped finish each other’s sentences, easily reciting every last detail of a tale they have evidently told time and again. “It shouldn’t be that Mark Zuckerberg gets away with behaving that way,” Cameron said.

As they talked about the Facebook case, no detail was too small to omit, from where they first met Mr. Zuckerberg (the Kirkland House dining room) to the layout of Mr. Zuckerberg’s dorm room, to the content of the e-mails he had sent them. Tyler Winklevoss said: “Mark is where he is because we approached him to include him in our idea.”

 Zuckerberg profiles, meanwhile, are quick to point out that the Facebook founder is sweaty, smarmy, and awkward. But, you know, which one didn’t even bother to comment on this story, because he doesn’t have to? Oh, right. And which ones, sixty five million dollars and practically a decade later, are still going on and on about how unfair things can be? Ah, pretty people: Sometimes life is hard for them, too.


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