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New York Times Sues TIME Magazine Over ‘Times Talks’ Trademark

The New York Times on Friday filed a lawsuit against TIME Magazine for its use of the term “TIME100 Talks,” which the Gray Lady claims infringes on its own trademarked “Times Talks” series of live and virtual events consisting of conversations between “journalists and leading talents and thinkers.”

In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, NYT alleges that in April of this year TIME Magazine launched a “competing series of live and virtual recorded events consisting of conversations between journalists and leading talents and thinkers.”

Attorneys representing NYT categorized the lawsuit as a “straightforward case of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices.”

The newspaper also claimed that the magazine has essentially been using its TIME100 label to mirror “Times Talks” in several fashions.

“Over the months since TIME began using the trademark TIME100 Talks trademark [sic], TIME’s has expanded its use of the TIME100 Talks trademark, and TIME now displays the TIME100 Talks trademark prominently on its primary website landing page at www.time.com, and otherwise aggressively promotes its events provided under the TIME100 Talks trademark,” the complaint stated, emphasizing how the newspaper had taken the same steps months earlier. “In addition, TIME has expanded its use of trademarks that combine the terms ‘Time’ and ‘Talks’ to include the mark Time for Health Talks. Accordingly, TIME appears to be trying to develop a franchise around its combination of the terms ‘Time’ and ‘Talks.’”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in August refused to register TIME’s trademark for TIME100 Talks, citing its similarity to the “Times Talks” trademark: “Applicant has merely added the term ‘100’ to the registered mark, inserting it between the two words TIMES and TALKS.”

“Because the marks are so highly similar and the services are so closely related, there is a likelihood that purchasers would confuse the sources of the services or believe they stemmed from a single source,” the USPTO wrote in declining the registration.

In a statement to Law&Crime, a TIME spokesperson said the claims against the publication were “baseless and somewhat bewildering.”

“It’s flattering that the New York Times is concerned with the success of TIME 100 Talks, but we find their complaint to be baseless and somewhat bewildering,” TIME said. “The TIME 100 brand has been registered as a trademark and widely recognized for more than two decades, and the word ‘talks’ is commonly used across similar programs in many industries.”

The newspaper is asking the court to issue an injunction preventing TIME from continuing to use the TIME100 Talks trademark or anything similarly confusing and seeks damages including all profits and gains derived from the alleged infringement.

Read the full lawsuit below:

Times v Time by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via YouTube screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.