May 16, 2011 / 8:38 PM / 6 years ago

Winklevoss twins lose bid to reopen Facebook case

<p>Cameron Winklevoss (L) and twin brother Tyler Winklevoss are shown in this combination photo leaving the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a hearing on a settlement dispute with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco, California January 11, 2011. REUTERS/Stephen Lam</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Twin brothers who accused Facebook Inc and its founder Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea for the social networking website lost their bid to have a federal appeals court void a settlement of their claims.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss failed to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to reconsider its April 11 ruling upholding the $65 million cash-and-stock settlement they reached with Facebook in 2008.

The brothers had complained the settlement was fraudulent because Facebook hid information from them.

Without providing a reason, the court rejected their request to have an 11-judge panel review the original ruling, which had been made by a three-judge panel. The Winklevosses could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jerome Falk, a lawyer for the Winklevosses, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The identical twin Winklevosses were classmates of Zuckerberg at Harvard University and are rowers who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Their feud with Zuckerberg was dramatized in the 2010 film “The Social Network.”

By undoing the settlement, the Winklevosses could hope to benefit more from Facebook’s rising market valuation, which private investors have in recent weeks said might top $70 billion.

But in his April ruling, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski called them “sophisticated parties” who, with a team of lawyers and a financial adviser, had reached a “quite favorable” settlement.

In a separate lawsuit, New York businessman Paul Ceglia is claiming he had a contract with Zuckerberg that entitles him to 84 percent of Facebook.

The case is Facebook Inc et al v. ConnectU Inc et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 08-16745.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Andre Grenon

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