Facebook asks US court to unplug German website StudiVZ

Facebook is asking a US court to shut down German website StudiVZ on the grounds it is an illegal “knockoff” of the online social networking superstar.

Facebook asks US court to unplug German website StudiVZ
Photo: DPA

Facebook wants a federal court in the heart of Silicon Valley to order StudiVZ to stop mimicking the northern California firm’s website and hand over any money it has made.

“This is a case to stop StudiVZ from operating a knockoff of Facebook,” Facebook lawyers said in a civil suit filed July 18 in US District Court in San Jose. “A great part, if not all, of StudiVZ’s success is due to copying and misuse of Facebook’s intellectual property.”

StudiVZ launched the year after then Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg brought Facebook to life in 2004 as a way to stay connected with the lives of college friends. The German website’s name is reportedly a play on a word in that language meaning “students directory.”

StudiVZ is gaining popularity and its creators have started localized versions in other parts of Europe, according to the lawsuit. Facebook is demanding a jury trial and argues that StudiVZ should be shut down and be made to pay an unspecified amount of cash in damages.