Did Pinterest's 'first investor' steal ideas for the site?

pinterest iphone app 1024

Pinterest and one of its investors have been sued by an individual who is claiming some of the basic ideas behind the site were stolen. As reported by AllThingsD, the suit was filed yesterday on behalf of Theodore F. Schroeder, alleging "misappropriation, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty" against both Pinterest itself and one of the startup's investors, Brian S. Cohen. According to the court filing, Schroeder had been working on a web application called Rendezvoo that would let users share information via boards in 2005, an approach that was a marked contrast to what MySpace and Friendster offered at the time. Cohen then reportedly came on and partnered with Schroeder and his colleagues, but is alleged to have later "caused the project to deadlock so he could steal the core ideas for himself."

The plaintiff put the pieces together after reading an interview with Cohen

Schroeder says 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 piece, Cohen refers to himself as the company's "first investor," and describes how some of the inspiration for Pinterest came from another 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 suit asks for a variety of different financial rewards, including damages in excess of $75,000, earnings derived from Pinterest, interest for any monies owed, and compensation for legal fees. Unsurprisingly, Pinterest is striking back in no uncertain terms, telling AllThingsD in a statement that "The lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively."

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.