Judge lets settlement in ConnectU vs. Facebook stand

ConnectU wanted agreement annulled

Dating Web site ConnectU won't get more money out of Facebook after the two settled a dispute earlier this year.

ConnectU, founded by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, used to employ Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg around 2003. The site was then called Harvard Connection.

ConnectU alleged a slew of indiscretions, including copyright infringement, after Zuckerberg established Facebook in 2004, which far eclipsed ConnectU in popularity.

The two reached an agreement in February, but ConnectU changed its mind and asked a judge to annul the agreement. The actual financial terms of the deal are sealed, but ConnectU received cash and Facebook stock as part of the settlement.

After making the agreement, ConnectU came back and alleged that Facebook committed fraud during the negotiations by misrepresenting the value of its stock. Facebook asked the court to enforce the agreement.

On Wednesday, Judge James Ware of US District Court for the Northern District of California brushed aside ConnectU's allegation, saying the two companies' agreement did not stipulate a value on the outstanding shares of Facebook's stock. Further, ConnectU had "reputable counsel" when the agreement was reached, Ware wrote in his ruling.

"In sum, the court find defendants [ConnectU] have failed to establish that plaintiffs [Facebook] made a misrepresentation during the negotiation," Ware wrote.

Facebook intimated there was another reason for ConnectU's change of mind. "We were disappointed that we had to litigate the settlement, as we believed we were caught in the middle of a fee dispute between ConnectU's founders and its former counsel," Facebook said in a statement.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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