Oct. 3, 2011 at 5:35 PM ET
Facebook is delaying the start of its Timeline feature, which lets users tell the stories of their lives, but a spokesman says it is not because of a lawsuit that has been filed against the social networking site.
Timeslines.com filed a trademark infringement suit last week against Facebook in federal court in Chicago, where Timelines.com is based. The suit came a week or so after Facebook announced the new feature it planned to release in the weeks ahead.
Timelines.com describes itself as a site "that enables people like you to collaboratively record, discover and share history. It's history recorded by the people, for the people."
In the lawsuit, Timelines.com says Facebook's Timeline threatens Timelines.com's existence, and that:
Facebook's Timeline feature "infringes on Timelines’ federally registered trademarks in that it causes confusion as to the source of the services offered to users of the Internet. Indeed, Facebook’s “Timeline” offering and its misdirection of users attempting to access Timelines’ offering is intended to prevent Internet users from accessing information about Timelines.com and to allow users to instead use Facebook’s “Timeline” offering.
The court rejected Timeslines.com's request for a temporary restraining order to stop Facebook from going ahead with Timeline.
However, Mashable reports that "several (Facebook) developers have noted that a message saying that Timelines would automatically publish to the public on September 29 has since been updated to October 6." A Facebook spokesman said any delay would not be because of the suit.
"Facebook has routinely said Timeline will be rolled out 'in the coming weeks," a spokesman said.
The social networking site does faces other challenges with Timeline, as well as with the new Ticker feature, a real-time list of what friends — and friends of friends — are doing.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, ACLU and other privacy and civil rights group are asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into Facebook's information-gathering practices for Timeline and Ticker, to see "whether the changes ... are consistent with the policies and representations that were in place when consumers provided their personal information to Facebook or whether they constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices, in violation of consumer protection law in the United States."