Theodore Schroeder, who worked with early Pinterest investor Brian Cohen on a previous project, has sued Cohen and Pinterest for passing ideas he brought to that project to Pinterest’s co-founders, who used them to develop the successful social network.
Schroeder, a lawyer who lives in Ocean City, New Jersey, claims he created the idea of a “board” as a platform for sharing content while working on a website called RendezVoo with Cohen and others in 2007 and 2008, and that Cohen handed the idea to the founders of Pinterest in 2009 along with some angel funding.
“Cohen worked with Plaintiff and Plaintiffs two colleagues to further develop Plaintiffs ideas. Cohen caused the project to deadlock so he could steal the core ideas for himself and freeze out the
Plaintiff from reaping any benefits,” the lawsuit alleges.
Schroeder learned in March 2012 that Cohen claims to be Pinterest’s “first investor,” prompting the suit.
RendezVoo was a “a Web site where people meet to share opinions, views, items and tastes on a variety of subjects” that garnered about 5,000 users. Schroeder did the technical work to create “Boards” for posting content and so-called “infinite scrolling” on RendezVoo.
“These two key concepts, in addition to the ideas underpinning [RendezVoo] itself, found their way to Pinterest,” the suit alleges. “Pinterest was nearly exactly what Plaintiff conceived as [RendezVoo] Version 2.”
“The lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively,” Pinterest spokeswoman Annie Ta said.
The complaint was filed on December 27 in federal district court in Manhattan and became public on December 28.