Facebook Sues German Competitor

    July 21, 2008

Facebook is suing a German social networking site alleging that it closely copies Facebook’s design and layout.

Facebook filed a complaint in California federal court on Friday against studiVZ for copying its look, feel, features and services of Facebook.


StudiVZ said it had not been serviced with the complaint and cannot comment in detail about the content of the claims. StudiVZ said the Facebook claims were without merit.

The name is an abbreviation of the German expression, which means student’s directory. StudiVZ is a social network for students based in Berlin.

In its complaint Facebook says,"As with any counterfeit product, StudiVZ uncontrolled quality standards for service, features and privacy negatively impact the genuine article."

StudiVZ claims Facebook is suing it because it has not had much success in the German market. "Now that Facebook, despite trying hard, has not been successful in the German market, the company seeks to obstruct studiVZ through court action," said Marcus Riecke, CEO of studiVZ Ltd. Their strategy appears to be: If you can’t beat them, sue them."

"There are numerous social networks. Facebook was not the first and certainly isn’t the only one," said Rieke. By attempting to harm studiVZ through a meritless California lawsuit, Facebook is arrogantly laying claim to an international monopoly over social networking sites that the facts show it does not deserve."

StudiVZ filed for a judgment in District Court in Stuttgart, Germany to have the court declare that the claims made by Facebook are without merit.