Winklevoss twins down for the count, but Mark Zuckerberg not off the hook

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (ADAM HUNGER/REUTERS)

On Monday, a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court ruled that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, made famous by the movie the “Social Network,” cannot back out of a settlement they signed with the company. The twins had hoped the court would throw out the agreement to allow them to pursue a larger settlement from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly failing to fulfill his contract with the brothers to start a social network. The judges didn’t buy their arguments though, and said the twins must stick to their previous settlement with Facebook, estimated at around $170 million.

In a statement released by their attorney, the Winklevosses said they would seek to have their case heard by the full court, refusing to close the matter. However, a separate court case over the origins of Facebook may have a better shot, according to a new report filed by Business Insider’s Henry Blodget.

The lawsuit, filed by Paul Ceglia, started in July when Ceglia said he and Zuckerberg had an agreement in which Ceglia owned 50 percent of Facebook.

At the time, the case was mostly dismissed in public as unlikely to win. The blog Inside Facebook called the case odd and problematic at the time, questioning why Ceglia had waited six years to file suit, among other issues. However, Ceglia just filed new evidence, including emails he claims were written between him and Mark Zuckerberg.

Blodget at Business Insider said the evidence is nothing short of “breathtaking.”

In these purported emails... Zuckerberg and Ceglia discuss "the face book" project in detail. They discuss how Ceglia will fund the project. They discuss how Ceglia has funded the project (proof of payment). They discuss how Zuckerberg has met some upperclassmen--the Winklevosses, presumably--who are pursuing a similar project, and how Zuckerberg is "stalling" them. They discuss how Zuckerberg has failed to complete the "face book" project on time. They discuss the launch of the face book, which Ceglia agrees looks great.

Facebook told Blodget that the new evidence was fake, but Blodget writes the new, high-powered law firm hired by Ceglia would have likely already vetted the veracity of the e-mails. (Read Blodget’s full take here.)

Either way, it looks like Facebook’s legal problems won’t be going away anytime soon.