Lawsuit Alleges ‘First Investor’ Stole Ideas For Pinterest

January 3, 2013 0

New York — It is almost a rule of thumb for any new startup looking to make its bones in the real world–being sued for stealing the idea… A New Jersey man alleges that ideas he conceived for a site called RendezVoo wrongly wound up as integral parts of the wildly flourishing site Pinterest, according to a report.

The lawsuit against Pinterest was lodged in New York City on behalf of Theodore F. Schroeder, of Ocean City, N.J., alleging “misappropriation, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty” stating that both Pinterest itself and one of its early investors, Brian S. Cohen. The lawsuit further alleges that the investor nicked his ideas — including the concept of boards — and handed them to the now hugely popular Web site.

However, according to the court papers, Schroeder had developed a site called RendezVoo, which initially began as a place where users could share their locations but soon evolved into a site where people “meet to share opinions, views, items, and tastes on a variety of subjects — product, services, events, politics, economics — nearly anything of human interest via boards in 2005, an approach that was similar in contrast to what MySpace and Friendster offered at the time.

Schroeder, the plaintiff, elaborates that he “originated the concepts that led to the popular, ever-growing Pinterest website” and presents a detailed account of the development of a website dubbed as Redezvoo.com.

More importantly, the dossier further states that Schroeder and his early partners reportedly associated with an investor named Brian S. Cohen, who never quite grasped the RendezVoo concept and instead spinned-off the project in the direction of becoming a kind of crowd-sourced wire service called Skoopwire.

Nevertheless, Cohen deliberately put the kibosh on Pinterest-like ideas that were going to be implemented into Rendezvoo, and after “deadlocking” the Skoopwire effort by raising concerns over ownership interests, Cohen later met the eventual founders of Pinterest and made a “Faustian” deal with them, channeling the RendezVoo concept into the new service. Then, later on, says Schroeder, after the two had separated, Cohen invested in Pinterest, which is said to have utilized several of Schroeder’s ideas.

As a matter of fact, the primary concepts that has apparently been stolen and used by Pinterest are boards for content and infinite scrolling. It is also being said that Rendezvoo deliberately targeted women, and that Pinterest’s high percentage of female users is another indication of its illicit use of another’s ideas. Pinterest has responded, stating that the lawsuit is baseless and will be “aggressively fought.”

Apparently, Schroeder’s lawyer conveyed this comment to AllThingsD: “The bottom line is that it is 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.”

Meanwhile, Pinterest has denied the allegations, saying “The lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively.” Schroeder, by the way, is said to be a practicing lawyer himself and a “self-taught computer genius” working in the Philadelphia area.

Pinterest lawsuit {iframe width=”620″ height=”390″ data-auto-height=”false” data-aspect-ratio=”0.775665399239544″ scrolling=”no” id=”doc_84793″ align=”top”}http://www.scribd.com/embeds/118264663/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-1hszic20gpkxs2fu4nih{/iframe}