Facebook did not even get to launch its new feature properly that it has been already sued for it. Timelines, Inc. accuses the social network of trademark infringement, among other things.
The domain name timelines.com has been registered on April 16, 1995, so there certainly is no issue of who was the first one to come up with the idea. However, Timelines, Inc. the owner of this domain, suggests that the launch of the new Facebook profile might have negative effects over the Chicago-based company, which at a first glance are contradictory. First of all, the company claims that the new Facebook profile might lead to the elimination of timelines.com. On the other hand, Timelines, Inc. claims that people might start thinking that it is affiliated to Facebook. In such a situation, the website would probably start getting a lot of traffic and I personally see no harm in that, despite the misconception people would have about the affiliation.
There is also the possibility that people would end up thinking due to this misconception that what they see on timelines.com they can also see on Facebook. Still, it is easy to realize from the first glance that timelines.com has nothing to do with Facebook’s Timeline, apart from the time line concept. While the social network uses this concept for its members, Timelines, Inc. employs it for historical events. On the website, people can view and even create timelines of historical events based on dates. However, anyone who makes a comparison between timelines.com and the new Facebook profile will notice that they serve entirely different purposes.
Another issue raised by the suer is that the Facebook page of Timelines, Inc. has been taken down, but at the moment it is up and running, so this might as well be a false claim. Personally, I think the complaint filed in the US District court of Chicago is unfounded and it is just a way for timelines.com to get some publicity. We will have to wait and see what attitude Facebook will adopt in this case.