Lawyer Wins Skirmish in War Over Pinterest Concept
April 4, 2017
New York Law Journal
Types : In the News
A lawyer who claims the concept for the popular web application Pinterest was stolen from him has won a preliminary ruling—extinguishing a cause of action advanced by his adversary—in his legal battle with an early investor in the idea-sharing platform.
But the federal judge in the case called the skirmish a “lightweight exhibition” match and noted the main event in the litigation—a trade secrets lawsuit against the investor—lies ahead.
In one corner is Theodore Schroeder, a 2006 Columbia Law School graduate who says he and two classmates developed an idea for a social media platform in which users can post their interests to digital bulletin boards, which differed at that time from Facebook and other leading social networking programs.
In the other corner is Brian Cohen, chairman of the “angel investor” group New York Angels, who in 2007 went into business with Schroeder and his associates in a company called Skoop Media to work on a site called Rendezvoo.com, which was later rebranded as Skoopwire.com.
Schroeder was represented in both cases by Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partners Sidney Liebesman, David Dormont and Charles Palella.
Defense counsel Liebesman said—in a statement provided by a spokeswoman for Montgomery McCracken—the case reflects a concern of many entrepreneurs because they are “forced to disclose their ideas with the hopes of raising capital.”
“In this case, Cohen liked the idea, but not the entrepreneur,” Liebesman said in the statement. “So he caused the project’s death only to misappropriate the idea and renew the project with a different entrepreneur leading to the formation of Pinterest. And ridiculously goes after the entrepreneur using costly litigation tactics after he is sued for the misappropriation.”
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