UPDATE: Reuters reports that The New York Times is suing AOL Inc to force the The Huffington Post to change the name of its new blog, Parentlode, which borrowed the chief writer, Lisa Belkin, and most of the name from her previous NY Times column, Motherlode.
“The Times said Belkin “clearly intended” to confuse readers into believing her new blog was the same as her old blog, which she called a “virtual koffee klatch” for parenting,” reports Reuters. “The Times sued AOL for trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. It also wants AOL to abandon its trademark application for the Parentlode name.”
Last November two advisers from the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Peter Daou and James Boyce, filed suit against Arianna Huffington, claiming she stole the idea for the Huffington Post from them and cut them out of the business. Along with her co-founder Ken Lerer, Ms. Huffington filed to have the case dismissed. Now, as PaidContent reports, New York state Judge Charles Ramos has ruled that the case can go to trail.
The judge threw out seven of the eight complaints filed, but said that Ms. Huffington herself had confirmed the idea was something concrete and novel in a 2008 interview with Playboy. The pressure is now on Ms. Huffington to settle or be draw into a public court battle.
This ruling comes only a few days after the New York Times handed a cease-and-desist letter to the Huffington Post for hiring away their lead blogger on Motherlode and starting their own blog, subtly titled Parentlode. While the case has nothing to do with the lawsuit, it does play on the same themes of over-eager-appropriation.
Paid Content got the boilerplate from both sides:
Mario Ruiz, a spokesman for Huffington Post provided the following statement on Wednesday night: “Seven out of the eight claims were thrown out. To describe this as any kind of victory is as laughable as their lawsuit.”
Partha Chattoraj, the attorney for Daou and Boyce, responded on Thursday morning: “Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer may say that they find “laughable” the court’s decision to uphold our claim that they stole my clients’ ideas for the Huffington Post, but we are gratified to have the opportunity to bring the truth to light.”
For a deeper dive into the he said she said, check out Vanity Fair’s fine piece, Huffing and Puffing:
“It fully dawned they just weren’t going to do the right thing,” Daou explains. “We needed to go there and say to Arianna, ‘Look, you’ve got to make this right. We can’t let that stand.’ And whatever. The chips will just have to fall. I mean, if this becomes a big confrontation, well, it is what it is. We went in with eyes wide open.”