ROUND TWO: The New York Times has upped the ante in its dispute with The Huffington Post over Lisa Belkin’s Parentlode blog.
Times Co. lawyers filed a lawsuit suit against Huffington Post parent company AOL on Friday, claiming that the Parentlode blog name constitutes trademark infringement.
As WWD first reported, the Times sent a cease-and-desist letter over the blog’s name and the use of a “motherlode” tag in the Parentlode’s opening post on Oct. 24. Earlier that same day, The Huffington Post launched Parentlode, which is written by Belkin, the longtime Times writer who founded nytimes.com’s Motherlode blog three years earlier. Belkin left the Times for HuffPo in October.
According to the Times’ complaint, AOL lawyers responded to the cease-and-desist on Oct. 27 and argued that the “Parentlode trademark is not likely to cause confusion with the NYTCo’s Motherlode trademark.” The Huffington Post did remove the “motherlode” tags, but that is as far as AOL and The Huffington Post would go, wrote Times lawyers.
The Times suit argues that the name Parentlode “has no particular meaning and could not have been selected for any reason but to create an association with NYTCo’s established Motherlode trademark.” They also said that the name Parentlode is a “deliberate attempt to mislead readers into mistakenly believing it was the same blog, albeit with a slightly different name and location.”
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in New York but AOL has not yet been served.
A Huffington Post spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
Below is a copy of the Times suit, as obtained by WWD.