Social media giant Facebook is being sued over its use of the term ‘timeline’, with the case now facing a US federal court in Chicago.
Bloomberg reports history website Timelines.com claims it held a federal trademark on the use of the term “timeline” in reference to “user-created internet chronologies” at the time Facebook rolled out its timeline feature in September 2011.
Timelines.com, which attracts around 94,000 visitors a month compared to Facebook’s billion active users, fears Facebook’s use of the term will cause its trademark to be “overwhelmed and swallowed up”.
“The public has or will assume that Facebook’s timeline is really Timelines,” the Timelines.com complaint states.
While the case was initially filed in October 2011, Facebook counter-sued on the grounds that Timeline.com’s use of the term “timeline” really “reflects the common understanding of the term ‘timeline’ in the English language”, and therefore should not be granted protection.
Facebook’s counter-suit was rejected on April 1, paving the way for the trial.
In an amusing twist, Timelines.com maintains an active account on Facebook, with a timeline that appears to be updated regularly.