NY Times Becomes A Trademark Bully Over A Logo For A Newspaper That Hasn't Existed In 40+ Years

from the all-the-bullying-that's-fit-to-print dept

What is it with the NY Times lately? The newspaper used to have actually been one of the more "reasonable" ones when it came to intellectual property issues. However, in just the last few weeks we've had stories about how it tried to takedown an RSS feed reader for using the NY Times' own RSS feed, as well as a story where the NY Times' chief IP lawyer hides behind copyright law to explain the NYT's refusal to post useful source documents.

However, this latest one may the most bizarre of all. From 1924 to 1966 there was a daily newspaper published in NY called the NY Herald Tribune. It shut down in 1966, with a brief attempt at revival under a different name. In 1967, the NY Times and the Washington Post bought the European Edition of the paper, which was known as the International Herald Tribune, which had a separate website until recently when the NY Times (who bought out The Washington Post's half of the paper a few years back) decided to merge the IHT website into the NYT's own.

Either way, even with the operation of the IHT, the New York Herald Tribune has not actually been a newspaper since 1966. However, apparently many people have fond memories of the masthead of the paper, in part because of how it was portrayed on the t-shirt of actress Jean Seberg in the 1960 French film Breathless. Popular clothing shop Neighborhoodies recently decided to recreate the t-shirt on their own (photo from Consumerist):
That's when the NY Times got upset. It first threatened to sue over the use of the logo, but Neighborhoodies didn't fold. They, properly, realized that trademarks only cover use in commerce and for products that the mark actually covers. Seeing that the New York Herald Tribune has not operated since 1966 (and the NY Times only owned the brand after that), it's difficult to see how the NYTimes has a legitimate trademark request.

And here's where things get even more ridiculous. After Neighborhoodies made this position clear to the NY Times, the NY Times tried to route around the company and sent a takedown to the ISP who hosts Neighborhoodies' website. That ISP apparently didn't want to stand up for its customer, so Neighborhoodies quickly switched ISPs. Either way this seems like an entirely bogus trademark claim, topped off with an obnoxious attempt to route around the company once that company made it clear that it wasn't going to just fold over when the NY Times sent a nastygram.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    JoeNYC, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 8:49am

    NY Slimes is a Rag

    C'mon-- let's not be harsh. With readership plummeting, the NY Slimes needs to find alternate sources of revenue!

    What a disreputable company they have become.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Yikes!

    That is the most hideous asian girl I've ever seen, and this is from a guy that loves asian women. That's eye infringement, that is....

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:05am

    I wonder how often trademark law is actually used for what it's supposed to be used for, consumer protection.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Semi-Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Last dying gasps

    from a dinosaur...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    LumpyDog (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:07am

    Re: Yikes!

    Hey! That's my wife!

    But not really.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:08am

    T-Shirts!

    See - apparently, you can save the NYT by selling Loooooots of T-Shirts...

    Only, they have to think of making the T-Shirt first.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Dilution

    They really Herald Tribuned the pooch on this one.

     

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  8.  
    icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:38am

    it follows - we IP Troll too!

    Well, the NY Times did get out of objective journalism quite some time ago. I was wondering where they were going....

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Scott, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Removed

    The shirt appears to be removed from the site. Sad actually, I was going to buy one just to spite the NYT.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    AnonCow, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re: Yikes!

    That's actually an Asian guy...

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:57am

    here is the question: without using the trademark, what was the shirt worth? was the shirt worth more with the trademark on it? in the end, it is just someone trying to make a buck off of someone else trademark.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 9:57am

    here is the question: without using the trademark, what was the shirt worth? was the shirt worth more with the trademark on it? in the end, it is just someone trying to make a buck off of someone else trademark.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Re:

    If the "consumer" is the trademark owner, all the time

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Re:

    But it's NOT someone's trademark. At one time it WAS someone's trademark, but hasn't been used in trade for decades. You can't "store" trademarks, you have to actively use them. Plus, the times, or any other newspaper NEVER had a trademark for a shirt. Newspaper yes, shirt no. And since the newspaper hasn't been seen in over four decades, that trademark is no longer valid either.

     

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  15.  
    icon
    V (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    here is the question: Should the rich be allowed to copyright anything imaginable, have no intention of using, promoting or "saving" that copyright indefinitely?

    Same with patents. A patent should require a working model, with full details on how the device works. The laws are to simple and allow the rich to horde up anything they can think of for use a a much much later date...forcing the lil guy that actually wants to use the idea to pay royalties.

    THAT is the real issue.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    I'm sorry, what REGISTERED, in-use trademark are we talking about?

    Are you saying I can't create a T-shirt that says Betamax?

    What if it said Betamax (or NY HT) sucks?

     

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  17.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re:

    "Plus, the times, or any other newspaper NEVER had a trademark for a shirt."

    I'm wondering what fees were paid for the rights to use the NYHT shirt in the original Breathless. I'm guessing none.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    Adam Wasserman (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Trademark Bully?

    Surly you mean *cyber*bully don't you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re:

    but the point is, what is the shirt without this on it? nothing. a $5 chinese import, probably. why not use the same thing but make a name up, the new york daily herald or whatever? the intention is to use the name to benefit. it is just disrespectful, a mirror of a culture that steals anything that isnt nailed down.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes. Adding design adds value. We get that.

    Why the NYT needs to get paid for that is the case you really need to be making. So far you got nothing.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    V (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    no the POINT is...the RICH who can copyright anything they want, even with no intention to use it all do it FOR THE SAKE OF PROFIT by the lil guy who wants to use the idea.

    It is the same thing...both abusing for profit, but the moral dilemma is should we continue to let the rich get richer and keep the poor man down?

     

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  22.  
    icon
    interval (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re:

    I'd have read "The NYT sucks"

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Re:

    First time using the interwebs, or just trying to reinforce your archaic position with repitition? Olds should stay off the net grampa, nobody cares what you think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    LumpyDog (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Yikes!

    Actually, that's Al Roker without makeup.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Yikes!

    Get your eyes checked. She (or he) is much hotter than Jean Seberg...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Duffmeister (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    fashion has no copyright....

    So no copyright and no trademark as they are different areas of commerce on a dead trademark? Sounds like money grubbing to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    LumpyDog (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Yikes!

    Al? Is that you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    You'd think they would have better things to do - like trying to compete with other news sources.

    But nope - instead of working hard to get the "news for you" - they are litigating.

    So if you want news - might want to look elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was wondering when and how some fucktard would bring class warfare into this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 8:19pm

    Re:

    No, the question, which you still haven't even attempted to answer, tellingly, is...

    Why does this shirt damage the NYT in any way, and why do they care?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:55pm

    Re: Re:

    perhaps they may use the name again. perhaps it is part of its history it is intending to use again in some way some day. perhaps they dont want anyone suggesting there is an alterative to their paper. who knows? the only think i know is that the shirts are more valuable with the logo on them then without, and that tells me all i need to know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    perhaps they may use the name again. perhaps it is part of its history it is intending to use again in some way some day.

    Of course, trademark law does not work that way. If you stop using a trademark it is considered abandoned. I believe that 44 years of no use is pretty clearly abandoned.

    Funny, I thought you were such a bit supporter of IP laws that you would at least know what those laws say.

    I guess facts are not important to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re:

    Please, tell that to TP. He reckons due to some qualifications he's obtained years ago he's perfectly licensed to dictate what everyone, and the government does when only e. e. trolling cares about what he thinks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:33am

    I think the point is being missed (as usual)

    Trademark law is to protect consumer confusion. No one is going to confuse this shirt with a 40 year dead newspaper.


    Bully tactics, plain and simple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Michael (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 7:40pm

    Neighborhoodies

    No link to neighborhoodies?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2010 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And yet...you still haven't described how any of those things damage the NYT.

    Unsurprising, TAM.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Elissa, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:18pm

    Neighborhoodies Herald Tribune Shirt

    For those interested, here is the link to the Neighborhoodies http://www.neighborhoodies.com/york-herald-tribune-p-181.html Also, for those following the story - Neighborhoodies Founder Michael de Zayas first wore the Herald Tribune shirt on Halloween of 2007. The shirt was for sale at Neighborhoodies by 2008.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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