Facebook and Timelines Inc. have reached a settlement in the trademark case against the social network, according to a document Facebook filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Timelines Inc. operates Timelines.com, a website for people to create and collaborate on historical timelines. The company sued Facebook in September 2011 after it debuted an overhauled profile page it called “timeline.” Timelines Inc. has registered trademarks for “Timelines,” “Timelines.com” and its “Timelines” logo.
Facebook had asserted that its use of “timeline” was generic and qualified as “fair use.” Facebook requested a summary judgment to prevent the case from going to trial, but the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the motion. The case was set to go to trial last week, but then delayed without explanation.
It seems the companies worked out a settlement agreement in the meantime. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, apart from the following in Facebook’s 10-Q quarterly report:
“We are also party to various legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of business. Among these legal matters, in two cases, Summit 6 LLC v. Research in Motion Corporation et al., and Timelines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., we have reached agreements to settle the matters. The cost of settlement in each case, which is included in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2013, was not material to our business, financial condition, or results of operations.”
Through the lawsuit, Timelines Inc. sought to prevent Facebook from continuing to use the term and to receive compensation equivalent to Facebook’s ad revenue generated on Timeline pages. However, it is unlikely the settlement was close to that range. It also seems Facebook will be allowed to continue to use the “timeline” name for its profile product.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment. We’ve reached out to Timelines Inc. for comment, but have not yet gotten a reply.
Facebook and Timelines Inc. is scheduled to begin trial today in a case over the social network’s “timeline” profile feature, which Timelines says infringes on its trademark over the word “Timelines.”
Timelines Inc. operates Timelines.com, a website for people to create and collaborate on historical timelines. The company sued Facebook in September 2011 after it debuted an overhauled profile page it called “timeline.” Timelines Inc. has registered trademarks for “Timelines,” “Timelines.com” and its “Timelines” logo. The company is seeking damages “equivalent to Facebook’s Timeline-derived ad revenue,” according to Bloomberg.
Facebook asserted that its use of “timeline” was generic and it requested a summary judgment to prevent the case from going to trial. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Facebook’s motion, and now the companies will face a jury.
Here’s a breakdown of Timelines’ and Facebook’s arguments. Note that the case is over the use of the word “timeline,” not the design or functionality of Facebook’s profile.
PMD Marin Software goes public – Ad tech company Marin Software today went public after raising $105 million from an initial public offering priced at $14 per share. The stock opened at $19 per share and closed at $16.26. Marin began in 2006 as a paid search company, but was an early Facebook Ads API partner in 2010, and it continues to hold an ads badge as part of the social network’s Preferred Marketing Developer program.
Facebook updates mobile SDKs - Facebook this week released version 3.2.1 of the Facebook SDK for iOS and version 3.0 for Android. Both include a number of bug fixes and other improvements. The iOS SDK now supports frictionless requests without importing the deprecated headers. More information is available from the company’s developer site.
Zuckerberg tops list of highest rated CEOs - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the No. 1 highest rated CEO, according to employee reviews on the career community site Glassdoor. Employees are asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way your CEO is leading the company?” Zuckerberg has a 99 percent approval rating. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took the top spot last year, came in at No. 18 with 93 percent approval.
Zuckerberg supports immigration reform in letter to Obama - Zuckerberg was one of more than 100 executives of major tech companies and trade associations who signed a letter to the president and Congress this week calling for immigration reform to increase the number of highly skilled workers in the U.S. Specifically, the executives are asking for the quotas and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to be more responsive to market needs and for spouses and children to not be included in those caps.
Users take 1B Open Graph actions daily – Facebook announced this week at SXSW that more than 400 billion Open Graph actions have been shared back to the social network since apps began integrating them in fall 2011. Of that, more than 110 million songs, albums and radio stations have been played 40 billion times via Facebook-integrated apps and 1.47 million books have been shared. The company says 1 billion Open Graph stories are shared daily.
Diligant integrates FBX – Media-buying platform Diligant announced this week that it has begun serving ads through the Facebook Exchange real-time bidding system. Digilant says it is the first partner to serve FBX ads direct in Mexico.
Adobe shares FBX results – Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Adobe this week shared results from its first month of targeting ads through the Facebook Exchange. Adobe says FBX resulted in a conversion rate nearly 70 percent higher, and a cost per lead more than 50 percent lower than the average for eight other real-time bidding sources, though it was the second best performing ad supply source overall, not No. 1. Adobe noted FBX’s “favorable pricing” and “lower competition levels” than other exchanges.
Court rules Facebook doesn’t have to allow pseudonyms – Facebook won a case this week against a German privacy organization that argued the social network should not force users to use their real name on the site, according to the Associated Press. Germany has strict privacy laws, but the court ruled that the laws weren’t applicable in this case because Facebook has European headquarters in Ireland. Facebook says its real name policy helps protect users.
A U.S. district judge today dismissed four cases brought against Facebook by shareholders claiming the company failed to disclose material information ahead of its initial public offering in May 2012, according to Reuters.
U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet in Manhattan said the investors did not have grounds to sue because they were not Facebook shareholders at the time the alleged wrongdoing occurred. However, a number of other claims are still being brought against the social network, and the plaintiffs could file new “derivative” versions of their cases within 20 days.
Plaintiffs claim Facebook hid facts from investors and potential investors about how its growth projections would suffer from increased mobile usage. However, Judge Sweet said the company had indeed ”repeatedly made express and extensive warnings” about mobile usage trends and potential effects on revenue growth.
In a separate ruling, Sweet decided that a proposed class action against NASDAQ OMX Group for damages related to Facebook’s IPO should stay in his court. The plaintiff had wanted the case to be returned to the New York State Supreme Court. Investors say they suffered losses because of glitches in NASDAQ’s system on the first day of Facebook trading.
That case is In re Facebook, Inc, IPO Securities and Derivative Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, MDL No. 12-2389.
Facebook turns 9 – Monday marked nine years since Mark Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com as a social network for Harvard students. The company did not seem to mark the occasion with any public fanfare, though it is having an employee celebration it its headquarters today. Perhaps Facebook will make more of a PR push for its 10th birthday on Feb. 4, 2014. For example, on the fifth anniversary of the site’s debut, Zuckerberg wrote a blog post about the event, the company shared a retrospective of the Facebook profile over the years and allowed users to send their friends a free virtual thank-you gift.
Developers Live debuts – Facebook this week launched Developers Live, a resource for developers to find news, tutorials, speaking sessions and other videos about building apps on the platform. Developers Live is an app on the Facebook Developers page that will include live, recorded and interactive broadcasts. The first live-streamed event will address the top 3 things every mobile developer needs to know in 2013, and will be hosted by Facebook Director of Product Doug Purdy.
Facebook pages display remaining Promoted Post budget – Facebook is testing a way to show page owners their remaining budget for a Promoted Post at a glance. After promoting one of their page posts, somw admins will see how much money they have left on the promotion. Since Promoted Posts run until the budget runs out or they’re no longer eligible to be shown in News Feed, it isn’t possible to change the dates or times for the campaign. Showing the remaining budget could help page owners get a sense of how much longer their Promoted Post will run. Thanks to Kristina Allen for the tip and screenshot.
Facebook notifies class action suit members about settlement – Facebook began sending proposed settlement notices to users it believes are members of a class action lawsuit that entitles them to up to $10 in compensation. The suit, which claimed Facebook unlawfully used members’ names and photos in Sponsored Story advertisements, resulted in a $20-million settlement, which was granted preliminary approval last month. Now Facebook is emailing class members to let them know they can file a claim and receive up to $10 depending on how many claims are made and other factors. A fairness hearing over the matter will be held on June 28. Users can find more information on the Fraley Facebook Settlement website.
Privacy flaw disrupts New Year’s Midnight Delivery service – Before New Year’s Eve, Facebook created an application for users to write messages that would be delivered at midnight on the holiday. A business IT student found a security flaw that allowed anyone to see other users’ messages by manipulating the ID number of the confirmation page URL. It was even possible to delete other users’ messages until Facebook took down the page and fixed the loophole. However, the service still suffered from some issues. We found that messages that were supposed to be sent at the stroke of midnight were not actually delivered until hours later.
Chinese RTB platform accesses FBX – Chinese real-time bidding platform iPinYou can now access Facebook Exchange inventory, according to China Daily. iPinYou says there are a large number of Chinese advertisers that want to reach an international audience through Facebook, such as exporters and travel companies. Facebook is blocked in China by the government, though an estimated 63.5 million Chinese users are getting around the ban by using proxy servers.
Instagram hit with lawsuit after proposed policy changes – A class action lawsuit was filed against Instagram last Friday over breach of contract and other claims related to its proposed terms of service change. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco federal court, says users who cancel their profile forfeit rights to photos they had previously shared on the service. ”We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously,” Facebook said in a statement.
Facebook files for Poke trademarks - Facebook filed for three trademarks related to its new Poke application this week. It is seeking trademarks for ‘Poke’, ‘Facebook Poke’ and the logo for the app. The company had previously held a trademark for Poke in 2006, but abandoned it in July last year.
Facebook working on security fix for Poke – Facebook says it is working on a fix for a loophole that lets users save videos that are shared through its new Poke app. The premise of the app is that messages and content are deleted within seconds of being viewed, but BuzzFeed found a way to replay and save videos by connecting an iPhone to a computer and browsing the app’s files. Facebook told the site, “We are addressing this issue now. We should have a fix pushed shortly.”
Facebook offers special New Year’s message delivery – Through its Facebook Stories website, the social network is offering “New Year’s Midnight Delivery.” Users can write messages to their friends in advance and have them delivered at midnight on New Year’s. The recipient’s time zone will be taken into account so messages appear just as a user is ringing in the new year.
Zuckerberg sister’s friends-only photo shared on Twitter – Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark, got some unwanted attention this week after a Twitter user publicly shared a photo meant for friends only on Facebook. The photo showed the Zuckerberg family playing with the new Poke app. Many outlets picked up on the story as a Facebook privacy blunder. Later Randi Zuckerberg tweeted, “Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.”
Facebook is 2012′s top search term - For the fourth year in a row, Facebook was the top-searched term overall in the U.S., according to Experian. Facebook accounted for 4.13 percent of all searches, a 33 percent increase from 2011. Other variations of the term “facebook” were among the top terms. Second on the list was YouTube. Facebook was the top-visited site for the third year in a row, accounting for 79.1 billion U.S. visits. Google was No. 2.
Facebook mobile ad performance suggests greater growth for industry – In large part because of Facebook’s surprising mobile ad growth, eMarketer updated its overall projections for the mobile ad industry to $4 billion this year instead of the $2.61 billion it originally estimated. eMarketer projects Facebook’s U.S. mobile ad revenues will reach $339 million this year and more than $1.2 billion in 2014. eMarketer bases its figures on a meta-analysis of data from research firms, investment banks and other sources on ad revenues, ad impressions, ad pricing and other factors.
Germany wants Facebook to allow pseudonyms - Germany’s data commissioner this week ordered Facebook to remove its real name policy in light of German laws that give users the right to use pseudonyms online. The data commissioner’s office said in a statement on its site, “The permission to use pseudonyms on Facebook is reasonable. The real name obligation does neither prevent abuse of the service for insults or provocations nor does it help prevent identity theft.” Facebook responded, saying it will fight the order “vigorously.”
Chango gets FBX access - Programmatic ad buying company Chango this week announced it has gained access to the Facebook Exchange. The company is among a limited group of DSPs that have access to FBX inventory. Chango says it is the first FBX partner to offer retargeting based on search profiles.
Video privacy law change passes Senate – The U.S. Senate this week passed an amendment to the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act that could enable Netflix and other services to allow users to give one-time consent to share their viewing activity on sites like Facebook. The new legislation, which is backed by Netflix, now goes to the president to be signed into law. After the new law is approved, U.S. users will be able to use Netflix’s Open Graph sharing application, which has so far only been available for users in other countries.