Facebook is looking over its shoulder at the competition, and doing what comes naturally for succesful businesses based on a model, if not a technology, fundamentally simple to replicate: Suing the competition for IP infringement:
Facebook filed a complaint last Friday accusing [social networking site] studiVZ of copying the look, feel, features and services of Facebook, ultimately seeking to put an end to the German site.
The name studiVZ is an abbreviation of “Studienverzeichnis,” which means “students’ directory” in German, and the site — while it visually resembles Facebook, only in red instead of blue — is more practical than playful in its features.
It has since branched out into SchuelerVZ for school pupils and MeinVZ for graduates and non-students.
Industry experts attribute some of studiVZ’s success to the fact that Facebook waited too long to make its site available in foreign languages. Facebook launched a German version in March.
Facebook’s deputy general counsel, Mark Howitson, says: “We… are very disappointed that studiVZ has unfairly used our creativity, innovation and effort by building a ‘clone’ site to compete directly against us.”
StudiVZ’s Chief Executive Marcus Riecke is unruffled: “Their strategy appears to be: ‘If you can’t beat them, sue them’.”
Well, yeah. There’s something wrong with that?!