The Social Network– an Oscar-winning flick - chronicled the launch of Facebook and the tawdry rags-to-riches tale about its founder and the legal wrangling that erupted in the courts thereafter on the heels of accusations that the cocky start-up maestro - Mark Zuckerberg - stole the original idea out-from-under former business partners Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
In my own review of the box-office hit, I underscored my sentiments.
The “idea” is the thing.
In the final analysis, a person who invented the “light bulb” is the genius, not the individual who imagined one in the shade of blue (to use an analogy).
In spite of that glaring reality, Zuckerberg vigorously argued to all within earshot - that without his expertise the Winklevoss pipe dream would never have gotten off-the-ground – let alone been transformed into a viable marketable enterprise on the competitive world-wide-web.
Like it or not, one glaring fact remains.
The Harvard “boys” - to the manor born with silver spoons in their mouth – were the true visionaries who hatched up the original concept (not Zuckerberg).
Undoubtedly - that’s why the anti-social (!) CEO relented - and agreed to give the two sticks-in-the-muds their due.
Consequently, an out-of-court settlement was proffered up for big bucks in favor of the dynamic duo.
End of story, right?
Shortly after Facebook took off on the Internet– and met with phenomenal success – the Winklevoss litigants did an about-face.
On the grounds that the stock was grossly overvalued when the settlement was - signed, sealed, and delivered - the poor sports elected to pursue the litigation with renewed vigor (no doubt emboldened by the “Social Network” movie script which appeared to validate their rip-off claims) with the ultimate aim of cashing-in for a bigger pay-off.
Yesterday, the grumblings of a disreputable Judge in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal handed down a verdict - that was not only a stunner – but a less than Judicial-sounding one!
“Tough Luck,” Chief bench warmer Alex Kozinski snapped without an ounce of compassion.
“The Winklevosses are sophisticated parties who were locked in a contentious struggle over ownership rights in one of the world’s fastest-growing companies,” he quipped in the court’s 3-0 ruling.
In part, the decision rested on evidence in the lower-court record which Kozinski stressed was legally-binding.
The controversial Judge was referring to a statement in the agreement that barred inclusion of any evidence gleened during a mediation session – including, but not limited to - misrepresentations about the value of the company stock.
“At some point litigation must come to an end,” Kozinski concluded.
This, from a Judge with dubious standing in the community-at-large - in legal circles, too - a “black sheep” who has demonstrated a nasty disregard for the rules (particularly when it pertains to his own inappropriate conduct).
California voters, lawyers, and Court Officials may recall that Judge (I use the term very loosely) Kozinski has been criticized in the past for frequenting web sites that exalt (and condone) sleazy pornography and for “downloading” disturbing erotic images to his laptop.
In addition, Kozinski has thumbed his nose at critics in the past - who lamented on the heels of the scandal - that it was highly improper (disgusting?) for a sitting Judge to flaunt his sexual perversions so publicly.
Meanwhile, in the other camp, the Winklevoss attorney has cried foul over the ruling.
According to Jerome Falk, Kozinski’s opinion raises “extremely significant questions of Federal Law” that deserve further legal scrutiny.
For good reason, a full review by the 9th Circuit may be on the horizon.
Dig a little deeper, Mr. Falk.
There may be a few greased palms involved, especially where the California court system is involved!
News at 11!
Anti-Social Social hub founder?