Lawyers for Facebook and the digital scrapbook site Timelines.com were supposed to meet in court this week to discuss their trademark tangle over the new Facebook feature Timeline. That meeting never took place. Is that why Timeline has yet to go live on Facebook? [For recent developments in this story, see "New Twists in Facebook Timeline Drama"]
Facebook unveiled Timeline at its developers conference, F8, on Sept. 22. At the time, it promised that the feature would be live in “the next several weeks.” Since then, various developers reported notifications from Facebook saying Timeline would go live on September 29 or 30. Here is one such account:
Facebook Timeline is publicly launching tomorrow – September 30, 2011. Facebook application developers (like yours truly) were given special access early to ensure their applications functioned correctly before the official launch.
Later, developers reported similar messages that promised Timeline would go live on October 6. That date too has now come and gone.
Facebook says it never altered its plans for rolling out the much-hyped feature that will replace a user’s profile page with a visual life history based on Facebook posts. Looming in the background is the unresolved lawsuit.
As we reported last week, Chicago-based site Timelines.com filed for a temporary restraining order to stop Facebook from releasing Timeline, warning it would be “rolled over” by the social networking giant. Late last Friday, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang refused to grant the order, noting that a Facebook executive had testified the company did not plan to release its timeline feature to the public before October 4. Chang also required Facebook to make daily disclosures about how many people were signing up to try a pilot version of the feature.
The parties were supposed to revisit the issue this Tuesday but, according to a staff member at Facebook’s law firm, the hearing was canceled. The only other court developments have been a series of run-of-the-mill applications for Facebook’s San Francisco lawyers to appear before the Illinois court. It’s unclear whether Facebook is holding back Timeline on its own accord or because it will breach a court order if it makes Timeline public.
An attorney for Timelines.com said he could not comment on the case. Facebook and its lawyers did not return calls for comment, but the company told All Things D on Wednesday that the feature was due “in coming weeks.”