Pinterest sued, denies copying the idea, designs, and tech

The popular social networking site is under attack from someone claiming it was all his idea.

Just like Facebook before it, social networking site  Pinterest has been hit with a lawsuit by someone claiming it was all their idea.

Theodore F. Schroeder is the man firing the lawsuit across Pinterest's bows, AllThingsD reports. Schroeder says the ideas for boards and infinite scrolling, and even Pinterest's colour scheme, were his in the first place, and were stolen by his former business partner and early investor in Pinterest, Brian Cohen.

So where were these ideas allegedly filched from? Schroeder claims Cohen took them lock, stock and barrel from a start-up they both worked on in 2007 and 2008 called Rendezvoo, later renamed Skoopwire.

Rendezvoo does sound similar to Pinterest, though maybe a bit broader and less focussed. It's billed as a site where you can "share opinions, views, items and tastes on a variety of subjects -- products, services, events, politics, economics -- nearly anything of human interest". It only had about 5,000 users though, while Pinterest was the fastest site in history to have 10 million unique visitors.

Schroeder's lawsuit accuses Cohen of striking a "Faustian deal" with Pinterest's founders. His attorney said in an email to AllThingsD: "The bottom line is that it's illegal to steal an idea for your own benefit without regard to the originator of that idea. Here, Mr. Cohen joined an existing enterprise in which Mr. Schroeder had a majority interest, and then took without permission or right Mr. Schroeder's ideas, concepts, web application and technology."

Pinterest denies the allegations. "The lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively," a spokesperson said.

The Winklevoss twins alleged that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook back at Harvard, and they came out of it quids in to the tune of $140 million. So maybe they've set a precedent in the world of start-ups. We'll have to watch how this one develops.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.


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