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Lawsuit alleges that stolen ideas underpin Pinterest

Lawsuit alleges for Schroeder


The suit alleges that the plaintiff, Theodore F. Schroeder of Ocean City, N.J., developed a site called RendezVoo, which started as a place where users could share their locations, but 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” — by, the suit continues, posting their interests to “boards.”

Details of Schroeder ideas

According to the suit, Schroeder and his early partners eventually approached a venture capitalist named Brian S. Cohen, who never quite got the RendezVoo idea and instead steered the project in the direction of becoming a kind of crowd-sourced wire service called Skoopwire. But, the suit alleges, 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.

A Pinterest representative told AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes, who first reported the story, that “the lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively.” Gannes said Cohen did not reply to a request for comment.

The suit says Schroeder‘s friends had alerted him to Pinterest but that he learned of Cohen’s involvement with the site only on reading a March 2012 story about the investor in Mashable.

The lawsuit also mentions infinite scrolling — familiar to anyone who’s used Tumblr — as one of the things Cohen/Pinterest allegedly lifted from Schroeder.

The suit says Schroeder spent thousands of hours teaching himself programming and putting work into RendezVoo and its various incarnations, without financial compensation. (At one point, RendezVoo was live and had a user base of 5,000, the suit says.) Schroeder also put off his law career (he graduated from Columbia Law School in 2006) while working on the project, the suit says. He’s seeking, among other things, “compensatory damages substantially in excess of $75,000.”

You can read the whole story — at least as it’s represented by Schroeder and his attorney — in the complete filing below, which was posted earlier by Gannes.