Parenting Blog Case Raises Motherlode of Trademark Issues

Parenting Blog Case Raises Motherlode of Trademark Issues

If a blog is successful and gains name recognition among the public, with whom is the brand associated in the minds of readers, the publisher or the primary author of the blog? Apparently not a lot of thought has gone into this interesting question, as the New York Times did not apply for a trademark for its popular "Motherlode" parenting blog until its primary author, Lisa Belkin, left the Times to create "Parentlode" at The Huffington Post. Now it will be up to the courts to determine whether the Times has exclusive trademark rights to the "Motherlode" name and similar-sounding derivatives.

The New York Times Co. sued the Huffington Post and AOL, its parent company, on November 4, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, seeking both injunctive relief and damages. NYT's trademark lawyers argue in the complaint that the mark "Parentlode" is "clearly derived" from the Times' established "Motherlode" trademark and that it was "intended to create an association with Ms. Belkin's prior work" at the Times. According to the complaint, there is evidence that confusion already exists in readers' minds between the "Motherlode" blog, which the Times is continuing to publish, and the new "Parentlode" blog at the Huffington Post. On Twitter, for example, someone wrote (incorrectly, the Times argues) that "The NYT's Motherlode becomes HuffPo's Parentlode."

Read the rest of the article at the Virginia Business Litigation Lawyer blog

For nearly 15 years, trial lawyer and firm founder Lee E. Berlik has been providing effective representation for technology companies, banks, and other small and large businesses in complex litigation and arbitration involving contracts, intellectual property, employment matters, trade secrets, business torts and various statutory violations in both state and federal courts across Virginia and the District of Columbia. Having spent most of his career with large law firms employing 500-750 attorneys, Lee formed BerlikLaw in early 2009 with a mission of offering his clients increased responsiveness, greater value and flexibility, more predictable fees, and better service. For more information about BerlikLaw, visit the website.

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