1. ITV Report

Facebook fails to throw out 'Timelines' copyright case

A screenshot of a Facebook timeline example. Photo: Facebook.com

Facebook has failed in an attempt to end a lawsuit over its use of the word "timeline".

The world's largest social network launched its Timeline feature, which effectively replaced the Facebook 'Wall', in September 2011.

Two weeks later Chicago-based Timelines Inc, which founded timelines.com in 2009, sued Facebook for infringement and unfair competition.

Facebook then retaliated with a case against Timelines which claimed their trademarks weren't distinctive enough to warrant a legal case.

Timelines.com allows users to view articles about news stories from history.

But yesterday a court in Chicago ruled that the original case must go ahead because Facebook "failed to demonstrate, as a matter of law, that the [Timelines Inc] marks are generic."

District Judge Jown W. Darrah added: "At this stage in the proceedings, it is not unreasonable to conclude that as to this group of users, ‘timeline(s)’ has acquired a specific meaning associated with plaintiff.”

A jury trial is not set to begin on April 22nd.

A lawyer for Timelines said it was "happy with the ruling" while Facebook has yet to comment on the decision.