Another Failed Harvard Social Network Takes 'Legal Action' Against Facebook

from the if-connectu-could-do-it... dept

Even before ConnectU came along claiming that Mark Zuckerberg somehow "stole" the idea and the code for Facebook from them, there was another Harvard alum, Aaron Greenspan, who had been claiming something similar about how Zuckerberg took the idea from a project Greenspan set up called houseSYSTEM. When Greenspan's story (after years of him pushing it) finally got some mainstream press last year, we pointed out how ridiculous the whole story was. Facebook was hardly the first social network out there -- and ConnectU and houseSYSTEM were clearly built off the ideas of those that had come before them as well. It seemed like both cases involved folks who had failed to actually execute and build something that people liked, and were taking it out on Zuckerberg (who did successfully build something that people wanted to use) in hopes of either fame or money or both.

Of course, once Facebook settled the case with ConnectU earlier this month, it was only a matter of time until Greenspan realized that he might be missing out as well. So, as you might expect, Greenspan has decided to "take legal action" against Facebook, though at this point it's merely limited to trying to get Facebook's trademark on the name revoked (claiming that houseSYSTEM used the name, and that it's widely used and generic). He may actually be right that the term is generic, but it seems more than likely that this lawsuit is just trying to drum up some attention and potentially money from Facebook.

It will come as no surprise, of course, that Greenspan is really using this lawsuit to promote his "book" which has a huge section accusing Zuckerberg of getting the idea from Greenspan. Greenspan's been promoting the book for ages, with plenty of excerpts available online. The press release Greenspan put out claims that his "publisher" (which is apparently also owned by Greenspan) was denied the ability to promote the book because it had "Facebook" in the title. Of course, he provides no details about who denied him the right to advertise, and it seems odd that anyone would prevent titles with the name "Facebook" from appearing, as such a book, by itself, probably is not a violation of Facebook's trademark. Does anyone else want to claim that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook? Apparently, it's good for business.
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Filed Under: aaron greenspan, books, facebook, history, mark zuckerberg, trademark

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  1. identicon
    EH, 16 Apr 2008 @ 10:01pm


    The first site I knew of resembling a social networking site was CollegeBeers.Com. It was around from ~1998 to ~2003. Coincidentally, it had a section called "The Wall" with the same purpose and functionality as Facebook's Wall.

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