When it comes to legally challenging tech giants, Aaron Greenspan is on a roll. In March, he won a small claims court suit against Google’s AdSense program, which cut him off without warning and without paying him what his site had earned.
It turns out that Greenspan attended Harvard at the same time Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did. Greenspan developed a network for the Harvard community called houseSYSTEM. The network included course scheduler, student marketplace, email service, automatic birthday reminder, message boards, photo album, digital flyer advertising, event calendar (with online RSVP’s), map integration, job placement, and local business reviews. Greenspan thought about adding profiles, but at the time nixed them for security reasons.
houseSYSTEM included a section called ‘The Universal Face Book.’
Later, Zuckerberg would add profiles when he started his social network in 2004. And, of course, he called it Facebook.
Naturally, this led to trademark disputes which have now been settled.
This isn’t the first time a classmate of Zuckerberg wanted credit for their Harvard-era work. ConnectU’s co-founders (and twins) Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with co-founder Divya Narendra sued Facebook for idea-stealing. That case was settled as well, with leaked reports purpotedly showing the settlement money in the $65 million range.