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.”