Facebook just recently settled a lawsuit by the founders of ConnectU who claimed that Mark Zuckerberg had stolen their code and their idea to create Facebook. Within weeks, the beginning of a new story is becoming more public. Aaron Greenspan, who is releasing a book on the topic, claims that he coined the term Facebook and was using it for the houseSYSTEM, a social network which he founded at Harvard.
Ultimately, there were numerous social networks that were being created on the Harvard campus around the same time Zuckerberg launched Facebook. Even I was building my own social network at the time. Either way, Aaron Greenspan sent me a copy of the cancellation filing that he is submitting to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requesting that the Facebook trademark (as well as a number of others) be cancelled.
Is this a way to build buzz for his upcoming book release? Possibly. So far there has been no legal action taken by Aaron Greenspan aside from a filing to the U.S. PTO which is really not much of an action, it is instead more of a statement then anything else. It will be difficult for Greenspan to file any sort of suit following the launch of his book since it could be argued that the suit is being used for promotional purposes.
While I’m not sure what side is “the truth,” I will leave it to the justice system and the heavens to make a decision about that. In the meantime I’m going to read an early copy of Greenspan’s new book and I’ll be sure to let you know what my thoughts are. Below is a copy of the first page of the cancellation statement being sent to the U.S. PTO: