Timelines operates a website, Timelines.com, that permits its users to create, collaborate on, and share historical chronologies. The Chicago-based company founded in January 2007 has registered trademarks for “Timelines,” “Timelines.com” and the “Timelines” logo. In September 2011, Facebook premiered a new profile page for its users showcasing a “timeline” feature; Timelines promptly sued for trademark infringement.
In filing suit, Timelines sought to enjoin Facebook from using the term “timeline” and requested damages in the amount of any advertising revenues Facebook generated on any of its timeline pages. Requesting summary judgment, Facebook argued that its use of “timeline” qualified as fair use because the term itself is generic, and requested that the trademark for the word “Timelines” be altogether canceled for that reason. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the motion, scheduling the case for a jury trial in late April, which was subsequently delayed without reason.
In the meantime, pursuant to Facebook’s most recently-released 10-Q, the parties appear to have settled:
“We are also party to various legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of business. Among these legal matters, in two cases, Summit 6 LLC v. Research in Motion Corporation et al., and Timelines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., we have reached agreements to settle the matters. The cost of settlement in each case, which is included in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2013, was not material to our business, financial condition, or results of operations.”
The particulars of the settlement agreement have not been provided, though it appears that Facebook will be permitted to continue use of its timeline feature and name on its users’ profile pages. Facebook users, rejoice: for now, it appears as though your Facebook timelines will remain intact.