Facebook Inc. (FB) to Face Off v. Timelines in April

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) at first got a lot of flak for its format change to the “timelines” layout.  Users didn’t really enjoy the dramatic layout change, but they finally got used to it and just accepted it. However, there is a company who especially didn’t like it, and hasn’t let go of it. In fact, it will be taking Facebook into a courtroom in April.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) revealed in its annual report filing with the SEC that the 2011 lawsuit filed by Timelines.com is expected to go to trial in late April. Timelines.com filed suit upon the release of the “timeline” format, claiming trademark infringement. This issue was supposed to be settled pretty quickly, but not so fast. Facebook turned around a short time later and filed a countersuit against Timelines, stating that the company has no right to trademark the “timelines” name as it is “generic” and “merely descriptive.” This seems to be pretty ironic, as Facebook had made news in the past for trying to trademark the words “face” and “book.” Talk about generic.

Facebook Inc. (FB)Timelines.com is historical scrapbooking site, by the way. As this case nears, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) decided it was worth mentioning in its annual report that while it deems defeat in the trial “not probable,” it is hedging its best in warning report recipients that any liability that comes from the trial may affect overall revenue and earnings numbers in the quarter in which the result comes down. No indication of an appeal in case of a loss, though.

“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,” Facebook claimed.

What do you think? Does Timelines.com own the trademark, or does Facebook inc. (NASDAQ:FB) have a case that the word is too generic? We’d like your thoughts in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

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