Corporate Eye

New York Times Sues Huffington Post Over Brand Name

On October 24, 2011, a former New York Times employee and manager of that company’s 3-year old “Motherlode” blog launched a new blog for her new employer, AOL’s The Huffington Post, called “Parentlode.”

That’s the story that a lawsuit filed by the New York Times on November 4, 2011 tells of Lisa Belkin who — 1-month into her new gig with The Huffington Post — launched the new blog with a name that is very similar to the blog she managed for the New York Times.

Belkin acknowledge the similarity in her first blog post published on Parentlode. As Jonathan Stempel of Reuters reports:

“Her first Parentlode blog entry referred to the Motherlode blog and said the name change in part reflected reader concerns that Motherlode does not fit ‘in an era when fathers are every bit the parent.’ She also said the old name does not fit a blog that ‘regularly champions equality, and new paradigms.’

The New York Times claims in its lawsuit that Parentlode was launched with a name so close to its existing Motherlode blog that it “clearly intended” to confuse people.

Coincidence? It’s highly doubtful. You can follow the links to see the trademark filings from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for Motherlode (filed on October 24, 2011, the day Parentlode launched, but first used in commerce on October 1, 2008) and Parentlode (filed on October 14, 2011).

What do you think? Is the New York Times wasting its time? Should AOL fight the lawsuit or cut their losses (after all, the Parentlode blog has only been live for a couple of weeks)? One thing is for certain, AOL, The Huffington Post, the New York Times, Motherlode, and Parentlode are all getting some publicity from this lawsuit.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Who should be the victor in the trademark dispute between Motherlode and Parentlode and which brand should prevail?

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.