San Francisco: A law firm has let slip that Facebook paid $65 million (Rs316.55 crore) to settle a suit charging that founder Mark Zuckerberg swiped the idea for the website from former college roommates.
Law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver and Hedges boasted in a January advertising brochure about outcomes of an array of cases it handled last year, among them a $65 million settlement from Facebook.
Confidential: Mark Zuckerberg CEO and founder of Facebook. Adam Berry / Bloomberg
The law firm’s ad brags that it is a sound investment and that “it’s our opponents who needed a bailout”.
The Recorder, a California legal publication popular among lawyers and judges, on Wednesday published a story about the leak. Quinn Emanuel lawyers represented ConnectU in a lawsuit that ended in a settlement endorsed by a federal judge in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose in June of last year.
The financial terms of the settlement were edited from court documents and not disclosed by Facebook.
“We can’t comment on a confidential agreement,” Facebook said in a written response to an AFP request for comment on Wednesday.
ConnectU creators Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss claimed that they enlisted Zuckerberg to finish software code for their social networking website while they were all students at Harvard in 2003.
Zuckerberg, a second year student at the time, took their code and their idea and launched Facebook in February of 2004 instead of holding up his end of the deal, according to ConnectU’s lawsuit.
Facebook and ConnectU founders, in the company of lawyers and advisers, negotiated a settlement that includes Facebook buying ConnectU for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock, according to court documents. One condition of the deal is that all parties keep details confidential or pay a multi-million-dollar penalty. The lawsuit was seen as a threat to the existence of Palo Alto, California-based Facebook.