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Facebook loses attempt to derail trademark infringement suit over Timeline feature

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Facebook has lost an attempt to end a trademark infringement suit over its use of the name "Timeline." Bloomberg reports that US District Judge John W. Darrah denied Facebook's attempt to derail its case with Timelines, Inc., with the judge writing that the social network had failed to show that the disputed term was "generic or merely descriptive."

Timelines, Inc. filed its lawsuit against Facebook back in 2011, a week after the social network revealed Timeline. One of the sites and services run by Timelines, Inc. is itself, a site that offers an image-based timeline of historical events. The company has been issued several federal trademarks — including one for the name Timelines itself — but Facebook had argued they were invalid.

Facebook also made the case that its own use of the term "timeline" hadn't been as a trademark — though Trademarks, Inc. pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg himself had referred to the Timeline feature as the Facebook's "most important brand" in the past. Judge Darrah disagreed with Facebook's arguments, and as such the case is headed towards a scheduled April 22nd trial date — but with Timelines seeking Facebook's ad revenue from the Timeline feature as damages, there's plenty of incentive for the social media giant to settle in the coming weeks.