Facebook will go to trial to defend their "Timeline" in April.
Facebook's Annual Report filing with the SEC revealed that the case, Timelines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., will go to trial on April 22nd of this year. In 2011, Timelines Inc., owners of Timelines.com, sued Facebook over the "Timeline" name. At that point, Facebook was just coming off of the f8 conference and beginning to roll out the new profile to more and more users.
A couple of months after Timelines, Inc filed suit, Facebook countersued. Facebook's argument all along is that the term "timeline" is generic. In their filing, Facebook listed dozens of instances of "timeline" being used in a generic capacity in the past, and made the point that a Google search of "timeline" yields over 196 million results.
Timelines.com allows users to record and share historical events.
"Given the generic or at least merely descriptive nature of the term 'timeline' when used to identify chronologies of events and related information (or tools for their creation), as well as the prior and widespread use of the term by third parties, Counterdefendant does not own exclusive rights in the term 'timelines' as used in connection with timeline creation and collection services," claims Facebook.
In their Annual Report, Facebook tells investors that they don't see defeat as very probable in this case:
In the Timelines case, the plaintiffs allege that Facebook infringes a trademark held by the plaintiffs...We believe the claims made by the Timelines plaintiffs are without merit, and we intend to continue to defend ourselves vigorously. Although the outcome of litigation is inherently uncertain, we do not believe the possibility of loss...is probable. We are unable to estimate a range of loss, if any, that could result were there to be an adverse final decision, and we have not accrued a liability for either matter.
"If an unfavorable outcome were to occur in the...Timelines case, it is possible that the impact could be material to our results of operations in the period(s) in which any such outcome becomes probable and estimable," says the company.[via Chicago Tribune]