A U.S. District Court Judge has ruled that a lawsuit between Facebook and Timelines.com will in fact go to trial, after denying Facebook’s notion that the trademark-infringement lawsuit should be killed due to overly-generic trademarks.
Back in October of 2011, fresh off of unveiling the new Timeline profiles at the f8 conference, Facebook was sued by Timelines.com – a site that lets users create chronological historical records. The site, which launched in 2009, claimed that Facebook was infringing on their trademark with their new “Timeline” feature.
A few months later, Facebook countersued. They claimed that the term “timeline” is generic, citing the fact that a Google search of the term yields nearly 200 million results.
“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,” said Facebook.
Now, a Judge has ruled that the trial must go on, saying that Facebook has “failed to demonstrate, as a matter of law, that the marks are generic.”
He claims that Timelines.com has “millions of dollars invested in its business and more than a thousand active users,” and that it’s reasonable to believe that “timelines” has its own specific meaning to Timelines.com users.
A couple of months ago, Facebook updated investors on the situation, saying:
“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.”
The trial is set to kick off April 22nd.
[Above image is Timelines.com’s Facebook Timeline]