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Facebook loses bid to end Timeline trademark lawsuit

Case will head to trial on 22 April
Tue Apr 02 2013, 11:32
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SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has lost its bid to head off a trademark infringement lawsuit over its use of the word 'Timeline', and the case will go to trial later this month.

US District Court Judge John W. Darrah denied Facebook's attempt to end its court case with Timelines, Inc - a company that launched in 2009 to showcase historical events. The website sued Facebook for "infringement and unfair competition" in September 2011, just days after Facebook announced it was adding Timeline to user profiles.

Facebook countersued Timelines, claiming that the website's registered trademarks - including one for the name Timelines - were invalid. It also argued that its own use of the word "timeline" hasn't been as a trademark - although Timelines, Inc. pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg himself had referred to the Timeline feature as the Facebook's "most important brand" in the past. Whoops.

On Monday, Judge Darrah revealed that he disagreed with Facebook's arguments, saying, "[Facebook] has failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that Plaintiff's trademarks are either generic or merely descriptive," adding that Timelines had millions of dollars invested in its business and more than a thousand active users.

Judge Darrah said that the lawsuit will be heading to trial on 22 April.

Still, things could be worse for Facebook. A Chinese firm called Cubic Network went after the social network last year claiming that it had the idea of Timeline first, although the company never sued.

Facebook has yet to respond to our request for comment, while Douglas Albritton, an attorney for Timelines, told Bloomberg that the company is happy with the ruling. µ

 

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