|Image via CrunchBase|
According to reports by Bloomberg News and PCWorld.com, Judge Darrah wrote: "At this stage in the proceedings, it is not unreasonable to conclude that as to this group of users, 'timeline(s)' had acquired a specific meaning associated with Plaintiff."
The six-year-old Chicago-based Timelines, Inc. unveiled Timelines.com in 2009 and registered trademarks Timelines.com and Timelines for its site that enables users to organize sporting events, historical occurrences and scientific advances, among other events, chronologically. The plaintiff sued Facebook in 2011 after the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network created a profile redesign dubbed Timeline that chronologically organizes users' personal history.
Facebook filed a summary judgment motion, offering a fair use defense to the infringement claims and contending that the plaintiff's registered marks were generic and not descriptive enough to warrant federal protection. Judge Darrah noted that the plaintiff had more than 1,000 users and had invested millions of dollars in its Web site in ruling that Facebook "has failed to demonstrate, as a matter of law, that the marks are generic."