US law firms offers services to help Chinese company sue Facebook

Summary:Lifeix CEO Xiong Wanli says the company launched its own "Timeline" feature in 2008 before Facebook did likewise in 2011. He adds that U.S. law firms have approached Lifeix to offer their services if the company intends to sue.

Screenshot by Liu Jiayi

A Chinese Internet startup company planning to sue Facebook for intellectual property infringement has been been offered legal services from several U.S. law firms, according to its CEO and founder. 

Lifeix China was founded in 2007 by Xiong Wanli, a Harvard PhD dropout, and first launched the "Timeline" function on its Web site in 2008, along with the company's cube-like logo. Lifeix claimed Facebook copied the Timeline's name and idea, and used the cube logo during its own launch in 2011. 

"As everybody can see, our Timeline function was available on the Internet," said Xiong, now CEO of Lifeix, in an interview with a local newspaper. "I especially introduced it in my speech at Stanford University, and Mark Zuckerberg was among the audience. Some American law firms are approaching us to ask if we would like to sue Facebook. If so, they would provide services."

Having little consciousness of protecting intellectual property rights among Chinese companies was the reason why copying was common practice in the country, according to Xiong.

"It was quite common for Chinese companies to copy foreign counterparts, but not so much vise versa," said intellectual property right lawyer Xu Xinming. "This incident could mean that we have some creative advantages too. It also reminds Chinese companies of applying for patents and protecting their intellectual properties.

"Creativity is vitality. Instead of investing, some big IT companies in China only copy the new ideas invented by small company, which is unfair and the greatest hurdle of creativity," Xu said. 


Topics: China


Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor. He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Seven News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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