Facebook has launched a counter lawsuit against Timelines, Inc., the company that sued Facebook for trademark infringement in September after Facebook announced its new feature called Timeline. A small Chicago company that has only five employees, Timelines has trademarked the term "timelines," which is indistinguishable from the term "timeline" to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, as the company explains on its webpage about the Facebook lawsuit. Facebook's countersuit argues that "timeline" is not a valid trademark because it is a generic term, one that is used in features on at least 10 other websites, including Google.
In the past, Facebook has filed lawsuits to stop other websites and companies from using the words "face" or "book" in their names, including Lamebook, LLC., and has applied for trademarks for arguably generic terms such as "face," "wall," and "like," according to Timelines.
Timelines, Inc. provides Timelines.com, which the company defines as "a web site that gives users the ability to create customized web pages featuring user-defined information about historical, current and upcoming events." Announced at the f8 conference in September, Facebook's Timeline feature is set to replace user profiles with something akin to a scrapbook, which users can customize to showcase important personal events in their lifetime.
As an initial response to the lawsuit, a temporary order was issued to stop Facebook from rolling out the Timeline feature to all users. That order has since expired, and it remains to be seen whether Facebook will proceed with the rollout despite the lawsuits with Timelines.