Pinterest Accused of Stealing Ideas – Company and Investor Sued

By Prarthito Maity email: p.maity@mobilenapps.com | Dec 29, 2012 10:46 AM EST

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Popular photo sharing website Pinterest is in trouble at the moment. Per reports, the company and one of its investors have been sued by a certain individual who claims that some of the basic ideas behind the site were stolen.

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As reported by AllThingsD, the suit was filed Dec. 27 on behalf of Theodore F. Schroeder of Ocean City, N.J., who alleged "misappropriation, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty" against both Pinterest itself and one of the startup's early investors, Brian S. Cohen.

The court filing for the case states that Schroeder had been developing a web application called Rendezvoo that was meant to let users share information through boards in 2005, and this was an approach that was a well known contrast to what sites like MySpace and Friendster offered at the time. At that time, Cohen, reportedly, came on and partnered with Schroeder and his colleagues, but was alleged to have later "caused the project to deadlock so he could steal the core ideas for himself."

"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," Schroeder's attorney, Richard Scheff of Montgomery McCracken, emailed AllThingsD.

Schroeder, per The Verge, said that "he later found Pinterest to be remarkably similar to the service he helped create, but only put the pieces together when learning of Cohen's involvement with Pinterest this year thanks to a March 11th article on Mashable."

In that report, Cohen addressed himself as the company's "first investor," and also described how some of the motivation for Pinterest came from another similar project he'd been working on called Tote.

"However, in the same article Cohen says he didn't know where the concept for pinning came from. Schroeder contends that it came from his work, and that Cohen shared the concept - along with several broad design elements - with the founders of Pinterest," The Verge added.

Nonetheless, the new lawsuit now claims for a variety of different financial rewards, and these include damages in excess of $75,000, earnings made from Pinterest, interest for any monies owed, and also compensation for legal fees.

"The lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively," a spokesman for Pinterest stated.

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