A Chinese company has launched a lawsuit against Facebook over the design and implementation of the Facebook Timeline, claiming it's been directly copied from their own.
The post-IPO blues are still fresh for Facebook so a new lawsuit constitutes yet another body blow to a company that’s struggling to define its identity and regain the shine it had in the eyes of investors pre-IPO.
Facebook’s Timeline, that was rolled out incrementally from 2011 onwards, combines posts, status updates, pics and video into a cohesive whole. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, called it “Frictionless Sharing” at the f8 Facebook conference that year.
Cubic Network is a Chinese Pinterest-like website which announced its own Timeline, looking remarkably like Facebook’s, back in February 2008. Although it can be argued that there are only so many ways you can bring together a social footprint and present it in one’s profile, things become a little less easy to defend when we hear that Cubic Network founder, Xiong Wanli, gave a presentation at Stanford University where he introduced Timeline. Amongst the audience was a certain Mark Zuckerberg.
Cubic Network say that even the Facebook annual conference name, 'f8', was stolen from them as they have called their annual conferences 'f8' from the beginning, long before Facebook came out with theirs.
Litigation raises a host of questions of its own such as why has Cubic Network taken so long to come forward and why are they only now bringing in legal action? Answers may partly be found in the timing. The Facebook IPO, disastrous as it may have been, has also given the social network some real cash and it’s quite possible Cubic Network wants a slice of that action.
It may also be that coming now, on top of an accumulating list of Facebook troubles, Cubic Network hope that the social network will cave in fast and pay out big to resolve the issue and get on with its marketing.
Either way the sure thing is that life at Facebook is far from easy right now.