Amidst all of the good news Facebook has been throwing out, it looks like some bad news was just waiting to rain on its parade. Facebook was sued back in September 2011 by Timelines Inc. over the “timeline” trademark. Timelines Inc., which launched its website in 2009, claimed that Facebook infringed on its trademark when the social network roll out its timeline feature to its user base.
Timelines Inc.’s service is similar to Facebook’s timeline services, except instead of organizing Facebook status updates, likes, etc, it organizes historical events like wars, advancements in science and technology, sporting events, and more. Facebook tried to counter-sue Timelines Inc. and asked for judgments of non-infringement and a cancellation of the registrations due to Timelines Inc.’s trademarks being too generic.
U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah stated that Facebook “has failed to demonstrate, as a matter of law, that the marks are generic.” He continued by saying that Timelines Inc. had a decent amount of sales and many active users. He further states that “it is not unreasonable to conclude that as to this group of users, ‘timeline(s)’ has acquired a specific meaning associated with the plaintiff.”
Timeline Inc.’s attorney, Douglas Albritton, stated that the company is happy with the ruling. He says that the company will be seeking damages against Facebook that is equivalent to the social network’s “timeline-derived ad revenue”. The trial is set for April 22nd. We shall keep you updated about the trial when it takes place. In other news, Facebook is gearing to announce its own customized Android OS, a new HTC phone running the OS, and potentially a new Facebook for Android app soon at its event on April 4th.