by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
nytclean, paywall, trademark

ny times

NYTimes Threatens NYTClean Bookmarklet Maker With Bogus Trademark Claim

from the uh,-that's-not-how-trademark-works dept

We've already mentioned NYTClean, the four-line javascript bookmarklet that lets you remove the NY Times' paywall with a single click. Apparently, the NYTimes' lawyers, with their interesting interpretation of trademark law, have threatened the creator of those four lines of code, and bullied him into changing the name to NYNewspaperClean. The NYT claims that it's not complaining about the functionality, but just the name:
I am writing concerning your “NYTClean” bookmarklet, posted at

As you obviously know, The New York Times Company has used its ‘The New York Times’ trademark since at least as early as 1851 and today offers numerous products and services under its famous ‘The New York Times’ trademark, including its online version of The New York Times at the URL, and various blogs and electronic media products. NYTCo’s website receives over 15,000,000 unique visitors each month. NYTCo owns numerous registrations for its ‘The New York Times’ trademark in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Canadian Trade-Marks Office and these trademarks are among the company’s most valuable assets.

We object to your use of our famous "NYT" trademark in connection with your application and your promotion thereof, which constitutes trademark dilution and trademark infringement under U.S. and Canadian trademark law.

Accordingly, we ask that you immediately cease use of the "NYT" trademark in connection with this application. This email is without prejudice to any action that may be necessary to protect the valuable rights of NYTCo in its intellectual property.
This is trademark abuse. There is no confusion here. No one using the NYTClean bookmarklet thinks that it's endorsed by the NY Times. No moron in a hurry is going to be confused into believing it's a product of the NY Times. The trademark that the company has on the NY Times does not give the company total control over NYT. It only allows them to stop situations where there is clear confusion or dilution, neither of which are likely here. This is just a form of trademark bullying.

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  1. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), 1 Apr 2011 @ 3:36pm


    I disagree with you on this one, Mike. It would seem entirely plausible that a program with NYT in the title that is devised to work on the NYT website, would imply to many to be an NYT authorized program. It really isn't that far fetched to think so IMHO.

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