Facebook’s use of “Timeline” trademark in dispute

Facebook’s new Timeline feature is making at least one member of its social networking community very unhappy. A company known as Timelines.com is accusing Facebook of trademark infringement over the use of the word “Timeline.”

Timelines.com has brought an intellectual property lawsuit against the social networking giant. Officials at Timelines.com have received such negative feedback, because of Facebook’s popularity, that the online business has taken to airing its reasons for the trademark case on a company website.

The suit claims Facebook never sought permission or purchased a licensing agreement to use the name “Timeline” to define a new historically based update tracker. Timelines.com says it has owned trademark rights to the word “Timelines” for years to help its users customize web pages about past, present and future events.

Officials at Timelines.com state it appears odd that Facebook would allegedly violate the rights to a trademark, considering how well the social networking company defends its own use of certain words. Facebook owns or has applied to own trademarks for the words “Like,” “Face” and “Wall.” The social network has also brought lawsuits against businesses that employ the word “Book” in company titles.

The website company letter by Timelines.com executives is seen as a warning shot by the company, which promises to “vigorously defend our trademark.”

The company also hits a conciliatory note, saying that it is willing to work things out with Facebook. According to its public statement, Timelines.com postulates that Facebook may not have realized its “mistake” but is now willing to let the social networking site “make things right.”

Timelines.com suggests following the lawsuit by way of its Facebook page.

Source: techland.time.com, “Timelines.com Explains Why It’s Suing ‘Facebook’ Over Timeline,” Graeme McMillan, Oct. 19, 2011