Blogger's Job Change Causes a "Lode" of Trademark Problems

Submitted by patentadmin on Wed, 01/04/2012 - 11:22

Writer Lisa Belkin used to pen a blog on parenting issues for the New York Times called "Motherlode." When she left the NYT to work for the Huffington Post, the "Motherlode" blog continued but with guest bloggers. Belkin, meanwhile, continued blogging in much the same vein for HuffPo but named her blog there "Parentlode."

In her first blog entry for HuffPo, Belkin explained why she changed the name of what she seemed to see as the same blog in a different location:

"Why the new name?" Belkin writes. "For three years I have fielded reader emails about how 'Motherlode' doesn't really fit in an era when fathers are every bit the parent...For three years I have answered those emails by saying that a brand is a brand, and the Times wasn't inclined to change this one, but if I were choosing today I would choose something more inclusive. Seems I AM choosing today. So welcome to 'Parentlode.'"

The NYT was not amused about this, and filed suit in November 2011 against HuffPo's parent company AOL for trademark infringement.

Well, the threat of litigation bore fruit, and in December 2011 HuffPo surrendered the "Parentlode" name (which, let's be honest, is fairly awkward anyway; even the blogger admits it is "slightly sophomoric and silly" and that "frankly, we never really loved [it]").

After comparing the NYT to a playground bully who "seem[s] to think I took their toy - or something they believe sounds a little like one of their toys - when I left the Times," Belkin announced a contest for her blog's readers to suggest a new name for the blog. The winner will be announced in early 2012, but not until after HuffPo's lawyers make sure the winning name is completely kosher.

One of the prizes: a one-year digital subscription to the New York Times. Do we sense a little passive-aggressive behavior in the playground?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 05/28/2012 - 14:44


Whatever ... "Parentlode" is such a terrible name for a blog that, NYT tactics notwithstanding, the writer should be overjoyed at the chance to change it.

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