22 Aug 2012

Timeline gets Facebook into Legal Trouble in China; Cubic Network Claims Property of the Concept

Cubic Network, a Chinese social platform, is taking Facebook to court over the latter’s alleged theft of the Timeline concept, according to The Register.

It appears that the Chinese firm had offered its users the possibility of displaying videos and images in chronological order - practically what the current Facebook Timeline does - as early as February 9, 2008. According to a China Youth Daily report, Xiong Wanil, Cubic Network’s founder, apparently gave a presentation of this feature at Stanford with Mark Zuckerberg in attendance. In 2011, Facebook publicly announced the launch of its own Timeline.

The complaint filed by Xiong Wanil also contains patent infringement counts that refer to excessive similarity between the two companies’ logos and to the Chinese firm’s R&D center being named F8 before Facebook chose this moniker for its annual developer conference, first held in May 2007.

This trial adds a new episode to the Facebook legal saga that brought to public attention, among other things, a seven-year battle led by the Winklevoss twins on account of Marc Zuckerber’s illegal use of the idea and source code behind ConnectU, Facebook’s alleged predecessor.