Facebook sues StudiVZ

July 21, 2008 // 10:31 a.m.

Tags: #court #facebook #social-networking #studivz #sue

Friday saw popular social networking site Facebook filing legal papers again, although this time as the accuser rather than the defendant.

According to the Financial Times, the company has filed suit in California against StudiVZ, a German company which offers a service very similar to Facebook's own; so similar, in fact, that Facebook asserts the company has copied “the look, feel, features and services” of its own website.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the suit appears some months after Facebook attempted to break into the German market itself with a translated version of its popular English site; an attempt which has not, it must be said, gone over particularly well with the good burghers of Germany. Whether suing an already established site with some some ten million users to its name is the best way to break into a new and exciting market I leave to more knowledgeable heads than my own.

Facebook insists that the similarities between the two sites are such that the “nominal” differences amount to “replacing Facebook's blue colour scheme with a red one.” Accordingly, the company seeks to “end StudiVZ's illegal activity to ensure that users are not confused and that Facebook's reputation remains unharmed.” Oh, and if anyone wants to move from StudiVZ to Facebook Germany in the process, that'd be great too.

StudiVZ, owned by German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, is keeping shtum regarding the legal tussling between the two companies.

Do you think that the StudiVZ designers took a 'shortcut' when building their social networking site, or are there only so many ways you can build such a thing before they all start to look the same anyway? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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