Facebook foils injunction request against Timeline

The social network will need to head back to court tomorrow to argue against claims that its Timeline feature hurts Chicago-based Timeslines.com.

Mark Zuckerberg introducing Timeline at F8.
Mark Zuckerberg introducing Timeline at F8. Facebook

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Facebook's new Timeline feature should not be subject to a temporary restraining order after claims were brought against it last week by Chicago-based Timelines.com.

The ruling, which came down on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, also included a request that both sides argue their cases in court tomorrow. In addition, according to PaidContent, which obtained a copy of the ruling, Facebook has agreed to not launch the Timeline feature publicly for now and will provide a daily update on how many people have signed up for the service.

Last week, Timelines.com filed a complaint against Facebook in the District Court, arguing that the social network's new feature, which allows users to look back at their lives on the social network since they first signed up, could destroy its service. In the complaint, Timelines.com said that it's trying to save itself from being "rolled over and quite possibly eliminated by the unlawful action by the world's largest and most powerful social-media company, Facebook."

Timelines.com is, as the company itself points out, a "small company." Users of the site can collaborate with others on documenting historical events by inputting text, photos, and more. Users that don't want to play a part in creating events can simply head to the site, choose a date, and learn about the important events that occurred on that specific day.

Related stories:
• At F8, Facebook announces Timeline
• Chicago company sues Facebook over Timeline feature
• How to turn on your Facebook Timeline right now

Although the services aren't exactly the same, Facebook can't simply ignore Timelines.com's argument. As Timelines.com noted in its complaint against Facebook, it owns the trademark to "Timelines," and because the features are somewhat similar, it believes it has a potentially winnable case.

Realizing that, it's asking for quite a bit from the court. In last week's filing, Timelines.com said that in addition to a permanent injunction, it wants "exemplary damages" from Facebook, as well as "corrective advertising" on the social network's part that aims at dispelling the "false and misleading impressions created by its promotional materials." It also wants all profits Facebook might generate from the feature.

On that front, Timelines.com might have made its move too soon. According to court documents, Timeline is only being used by 1.1 million Facebook users right now. If and when it's made public, it will be available to the social network's entire 800-million-user population.

For now, users can still sign up for Facebook's Timeline feature by following this step-by-step guide.

Facebook did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the Timelines.com lawsuit.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)
2015.5 Volvo XC60: updated tech, understated design
Busted! CNET readers show us their broken devices (pictures)
Take a closer look at the BlackBerry Classic (pictures)