The movie portrayed them as having a bit of irony about themselves. They were funny, and self-effacing, while still clearly a little jerky. No such luck in real life: The Winklevii are precisely the privileged, whiny, entitled Ivy League trust funders they appear to be.
If there were any doubt about that before Monday, there no longer can be. After being excoriated by a panel of federal appeals judges for pressing their case that the idea for Facebook was as much theirs as it was Mark Zuckerberg's, the twins now say they'll appeal the decision. This despite the fact that they had already agreed not to pursue the matter in return for $100 million worth of Facebook shares -- which are now estimated to be worth twice that, and will likely continue to grow in value.
"The Winklevosses," the panel declared in its ruling [pdf], "are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the marketplace."
Ouch. But that's almost beside the point. The judges continue: "And the courts might have obliged, had the Winklevosses not settled their dispute and signed a release of all claims against Facebook. With the help of a team of lawyers and a financial adviser, they made a deal that appears quite favorable in light of recent market activity. For whatever reason, they now want to back out. Like the district court, we see no basis for allowing them to do so.
"At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached."
Apparently not! The twins' lawyer, Jerome Falk, issued a statement vowing to continue the fight by asking the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case. "I appreciate the Ninth Circuit's thorough discussion of the issues," Falk wrote. "However, I respectfully disagree with the [panel's] conclusions."
He means the conclusions that the pair should shut up and be happy with the millions and millions of dollars they'd already agreed to take, and that they should stop clogging the courts with their nonsense.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg faces another suit from another early colleague. On Monday, Paul Ceglia amended his lawsuit claiming that he's entitled to half of Facebook thanks to an agreement he and Zuckerberg supposedly made in 2003 (Zuck has said all along that he created "The Face Book" in 2004).
Facebook says the e-mails are fake and that Ceglia's is a "fraudulent" claim made by a "convicted felon." That might refer to Ceglia's bust for possessing magic mushrooms, but more likely, it refers to his conviction for criminal fraud. Ceglia waited six years before initially filing his lawsuit.
You don't get to 500 million friends without attracting settlement-seeking nuisance suits.