Company sues Facebook over Timeline feature

Earlier this month, Facebook announced plans to add a new feature, Timeline, to its popular social networking service. The idea behind Timeline is that users will be able to track their entire Facebook life, including important news and events that have happened to the user, via this new profile feature. Pictures, videos and other content will be included in a user's Facebook Timeline. Now Techcrunch reports that another company, Timelines Inc, has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, alleging that the new feature violates Timelines' trademarks and even claims that Facebook could eliminate Timelines as an organization.

Timelines Inc runs the Timelines.com web site which was established in 2006. The web site lets users view or create multimedia timelines based on historical events. In its lawsuit. Timelines claims that Facebook is violating its US trademarks for the terms Timelines, Timelines.com and Timelines & Design.

In addition to the alleged trademark violations, Timelines claims that Facebook is trying to redirect traffic from Timelines' Facebook page. However as of the time of this news post the URL does in fact still heads to Timelines' page on Facebook. Timelines claims that Facebook's alleged actions in this matter " ...  will essentially eliminate Timelines and leave the public with the confusing impression that plaintiff Timelines is somehow affiliated with Facebook." So far Facebook has yet to respond to Timelines' lawsuit.

Facebook announced quite a few new features and changes earlier this month besides Timeline, including a revamp of its News Feed feature. Many of these additions and changes have come under fire by long time Facebook users.

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21 Comments

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The two sites aren't in any way similar.. All timelines.com seems to do is give you an arbitrary list of historical events relevant only to those that seek it. The design isn't even the same!

I actually agree with this lawsuit.

Imagine Dell and another company is created with the name Dells - Lawsuit.
Imagine Microsoft and another company is created with the name Microsofts - Lawsuit.
Hell,
Imagine Facebook and another company is created with the name Facebooks - Lawsuit.

For once, I agree with this one.

htcz said,
I actually agree with this lawsuit.

Imagine Dell and another company is created with the name Dells - Lawsuit.
Imagine Microsoft and another company is created with the name Microsofts - Lawsuit.
Hell,
Imagine Facebook and another company is created with the name Facebooks - Lawsuit.

For once, I agree with this one.


Imagine a company called something very similar to Timelines is created, and mimics Timelines.com unique features. You might have a leg to stand on.

That hasn't happened here.

htcz said,
I actually agree with this lawsuit.

Imagine Dell and another company is created with the name Dells - Lawsuit.
Imagine Microsoft and another company is created with the name Microsofts - Lawsuit.
Hell,
Imagine Facebook and another company is created with the name Facebooks - Lawsuit.

For once, I agree with this one.

The thing is that there is no new company with the name "Timeline". Instead, "Timeline" is just a feature facebook is adding.

htcz said,
I actually agree with this lawsuit.

Imagine Dell and another company is created with the name Dells - Lawsuit.
Imagine Microsoft and another company is created with the name Microsofts - Lawsuit.
Hell,
Imagine Facebook and another company is created with the name Facebooks - Lawsuit.

For once, I agree with this one.

Except, you are wrong. A timeline is a legitimate thing in its own right used by billions of people for many many years now, before the internet. This is like a company called bookmark suing every browser company for having a bookmark feature. It's utter nonsense.

So not only are they (timelines.com) bitching about facebook maybe could be, almost did, what ever something or other to their (timelines.com) facebook page (that facebook.com own and run), they're also complaining that their site timelines.com will be confused with facebook.com's timeline profile information. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think timelines.com has any social media intergration, at least not with any profiles of its users AND facebook doesn't have any timeline profiles of dead people from the 1800's.
I really do fail to see how timelines.com can make the assumption that people will get confused with the two.

I think timelines.com should maybe think about getting a proper domain name or company name because I've been using the term timelines since I was in school, many years ago.. that predates their site of 1995.

I have written evidence and prior art showing that I used Timelines before their website even existed. Both for historical people, places, evens, geography, science and even wrote one about myself for an english assignment.

Using one world domain names might have seemed like a great idea when the internet bubble started, but now you're just asking for trouble for anyone who wants to use the english language for something.

sagum said,
I have written evidence and prior art showing that I used Timelines before their website even existed. Both for historical people, places, evens, geography, science and even wrote one about myself for an english assignment.

Someone contact the president, we have the only man in the world with a written timeline.

Oh come on, that's the kind of trademark that should be denied since its so general. I've never even HEARD of that

Viper550 said,
Oh come on, that's the kind of trademark that should be denied since its so general. I've never even HEARD of that

Hey, you can't use the word HEARD, I have it trademarked. I'm gonna sue you now unless you stop using it.

Seriously, how can they trademark the word timeline? It's a general term that anyone should be able to use freely. But maybe it's because they have it in its name. If they gave it another name and just told us we can create timelines it might be different.

In looking at their site I would not draw the conclusion that they are a part of Facebook. My money is on a) Facebook's high prices lawyers completely annihilating these guys in court, or b) Facebook paying Timelines.com some sort hush money to buy the company name, which would be similar to what Apple did with iCloud Communications.

Enron said,
Oh yeah I really thought I'd get confused between Facebook and some guys I've never even heard of.

but thats the point.. you have not heard of them so if you did hear of them you would just think they were part of facebook.

Lawsuit is bogus. Unless you ignore the fact that Facebook's timelines don't go back to the 1800's and do not include actual historical information.

NoLiMiT06 said,
Yeah and they look so much alike... Anything for money.

I agree with you; they look very different; but this isn't about appearances, this is about using the word "timelines" and other things in Facebook...