Judge Says Battle Over Founding Of Facebook Is Over

The terms of the settlement, which involved an award of cash and Facebook stock, was ordered sealed by the judge.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

June 27, 2008

2 Min Read

The bitter fight between a group of former Harvard University students and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is over after a federal judge in California ruled that a settlement reached by the warring parties is enforceable.

The parties -- including the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, and their partner Divya Narendra -- are scheduled to meet July 2 to determine the details of the settlement.

The dispute dates back to early 2004 when the Winklevoss team enlisted Harvard sophomore Zuckerberg to work on their ConnectU Web site. A few weeks later, Zuckerberg launched the now-legendary Facebook and ever since the Winklevoss team has been arguing that Zuckerberg ripped them off.

After protracted litigation that started at Harvard's disciplinary board before it reached the federal courts, Facebook racked up a valuation of $15 billion, according to some estimates.

The two sides reached a settlement, and Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday rejected a recent challenge by the Winklevosses. The judge said the settlement is enforceable and set the July 2 date for the parties to work out the final details.

The terms of the settlement, which involved an award of cash and Facebook stock to the Winklevoss group, was ordered sealed by Judge Ware.

The dispute was complicated because there was litigation in two venues -- in California and Massachusetts -- and there have been suggestions that attorneys have been jockeying for position in the case.

Facebook said it considers the case closed. In a statement, the popular social networking firm said: "The ConnectU founders understood the deal they made, and we are gratified that the Court rejected their false allegations of fraud. Their challenge was simply a case of 'buyers remorse,' as described by the Boston Court earlier this month."

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