By Kevin Allison in San Francisco Published: July 19 2008 00:30
Facebook on Friday filed an intellectual property lawsuit against a German company that it has accused of running a “knock-off” of the social networking website.
In a complaint filed in a California court, Facebook accused StudiVZ - a German company that claims 10m users and calls itself “the most successful social network in Germany, Austria and Switzerland” - of “copying the look, feel, features and services” of the Facebook site.
The lawsuit comes several months after Facebook, which claims more than 80m active users, launched a German language version of its own website. That site has since struggled to gain traction among German users, according to one person close to the company.
In its complaint, Facebook accused StudiVZ of copying entire portions of the site’s design, including features such as Facebook’s distinctive “wall”, which allows users to leave messages on each other’s profile pages.