Reddit Sued by Founder of Meme Stock Driver WallStreetBets | Tech News

Reddit Sued by Founder of Meme Stock Driver WallStreetBets

The founder of WallStreetBets, the Reddit chat forum that fueled the 2021 meme stock frenzy, sued the social media platform for ousting him from the online community.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Feb 17 2023, 07:17 IST
Reddit
The suit, which includes allegations of breach of contract and trademark infringement, comes three years after Rogozinski was barred by Reddit and two years after participants in WallStreetBets helped set off a trading frenzy in a short-seller squeeze targeting GameStop. (REUTERS)

The founder of WallStreetBets, the Reddit chat forum that fueled the 2021 meme stock frenzy, sued the social media platform for ousting him from the online community.

Jaime Rogozinski claims that after he applied for a trademark for WALLSTREETBETS in March 2020, he was banned from moderating the forum he created in 2012. Reddit is asserting ownership over chat forum brands on its platform as it plans to go public, according to the complaint Rogozinski filed Wednesday in federal court in Oakland, California.

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The suit, which includes allegations of breach of contract and trademark infringement, comes three years after Rogozinski was barred by Reddit and two years after participants in WallStreetBets helped set off a trading frenzy in a short-seller squeeze targeting GameStop.

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“This is a completely frivolous lawsuit with no basis in reality,” said a spokesperson for Reddit. “Jaime was removed as a moderator of r/WallStreetBets by Reddit and banned by the community moderators for attempting to enrich himself. This lawsuit is another transparent attempt to enrich himself.”

Rogozinski alleges Reddit seized “control over his creation” as he pushed to build the forum's brand by launching a book “WallStreetBets: How Boomers Made the World's Biggest Casino for Millennials” and a WALLSTREETBETS-branded esports competition in the first quarter of 2020.

He was terminated as a moderator of his forum after Reddit claimed he violated company policy by “attempting to monetize a community,” according to the suit. But “Reddit's justification was a pretext — people use Reddit to market and sell everything from investment advice to bodily fluids,” he said in the complaint, adding that he never had any “moderation-for-compensation deal.”

Reddit launched a legal challenge at the US Patent and Trademark Office blocking Rogozinski from asserting ownership of WALLSTREETBETS and filed four separate trademark applications on WALLSTREETBETS trademarks, which are pending, the founder said in the suit.

“We'll respond directly in court and continue to protect the best interests of the communities and moderators on our platform,” the Reddit spokesperson said.

Rogozinski is seeking a ruling that would reinstate him as as a moderator and stop Reddit from using WALLSTREETBETS trademarks until he's brought back on the platform. Reddit's ban cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in book sales and “millions of dollars” from losing the contract for the e-sports trading competition, according to the complaint.

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First Published Date: 17 Feb, 07:16 IST
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