My Former Business Partner Is Suing Facebook

God help Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. They messed with the wrong guy.
My friend and former business partner, Brian Hand, founded another company called Timelines 3 years ago in Chicago. You can already see where this is going, right? FaceBook has been testing a new feature called timelines which is supposed go live this weekend and my friend owns the trademark on the name Timelines. Not only that but, as you might imagine, the concept of Timelines the company and timelines the FaceBook feature are pretty damn similar. The tag line for Timelines is “Discover, record, and share history” and a lot of that history being recorded is personal history – just like the new FaceBook feature.
But it gets even better. Timelines has had a FaceBook page for some time now and several hundred people have “liked” it. Only thing is you can’t get to that page anymore because FaceBook is redirecting all traffic from that page to a page about their feature. And if you search for timelines on FaceBook the Timelines icon shows up in the search results but when you click on it it takes you to FaceBook’s feature page. Hmmm. Maybe FaceBook really is evil.
So Brian is doing what any good red blooded American would do and he’s suing the crap out of FaceBook for trademark infringement on the name Timelines. The purpose of the lawsuit is to prevent Timelines “from being rolled over and quite possibly eliminated by … the world’s largest and most powerful social media company.”
FaceBook had to know about Timelines so they apparently took some kind of calculated risk. But, as they are about to find out, it wasn’t a very good risk to take. You don’t want to mess with Brian. He really knows what he is doing and he really does his homework – and did I forget to mention tenacious? He’s the only person I know who is more tenacious than me and I border on neurotic.

0 thoughts on “My Former Business Partner Is Suing Facebook

  1. But does he have the money to take on Zuckerberg’s attorneys? He might be right, but this may be like suing Walmart.

  2. With all due respect, have you even seen Facebook’s timeline feature? The two sites bear no resemblance to each other, save the fact that they both display events in chronological order (i.e., over *time*, which is a universal concept).
    A far more interesting resemblance is to Facebook. In both concept (social network around personal/family events) and visual layout (vertical timeline with media on the left and right of a central line), they are far more similar. But StoryTree would not win even if they decided to sue, either.
    I’d suggest Brian save his time.

  3. We’ll see what the courts say. There should be a preliminary decision really soon on whether or not to allow the rollout to proceed. The issue is trademark infringement and the fact that FB destroyed the Timelines FB page doesn’t help their case. I don’t think it matters how similar the layouts are.

  4. Hey! You know what? Facebook fixed their page and the search works once again. I can assure you that this was not working this morning. I’m sure the lawsuit encouraged them to fix it.

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