The New York Times' lawyers on Monday sent a case-and-desist letter to the Huffington Post over the title of a blog written by former Times writer, Lisa Belkin, WWD reported.
The new blog name, Parentlode, has a name similar similar to Belkin's Times blog, which was Motherlode.
While we are flattered by your focus on our blog and your apparent fondness for its name, we obviously cannot permit you to adopt a name whose sole purpose is to create an association in the minds of readers with our 'Motherlode' blog, wrote Richard Samson, a lawyer to the Times. This is a transparent attempt to capitalize on the fame and reputation of the original nytimes.com blog, and constitutes an obvious infringement of The Times' rights under U.S. Trademark law.
The Times filed a patent to trademark the name on Monday, a spokeswoman told WWD.
Belkin joined the Huffington Post in September, making her the fifth staff write from the Times to make the move. There has been no love lost between the companies, with former Times executive editor Bill Keller attacked the Huffington Post and called its contents celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications. Huffington fired back that Keller was perhaps unsettled by the fact that, when combined, The Huffington Post and AOL News have over 70 percent more unique visitors than the New York Times.
Belkin wrote that she changed the blog name to include an audience of both mother and fathers.
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, Belkin wrote. It also doesn't fit a blog that so regularly champions equality, and new paradigms, nor one that is written by a writer who is exquisitely aware of the power of words. 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.
As of press time, Belkin's blog post still had the Parentlode name.