The voice of reason, The Village Voice is not.
“Best of” lists are everywhere, but the Voice has decided to lay claim to the “best of” phrase, and it’s suing reviews company Yelp for use of the presence of these seemingly generic words on its website.
Village Voice Media Holding owns the registered trademarks for “Best of Dallas,” “Best of San Francisco,” “Best of Seattle,” and several more city-themed “best of” phrases. It filled suit against Yelp last week for infringing on 10 of its “best of” marks, and it’s asking for treble damages (or triple the amount of revenue Yelp makes from infringing on the marks), attorneys’ fees, and an injunction to prevent Yelp from continuing to use the “best of” marks.
The Village Voice said that it sells advertising against its web pages running “best of” lists. Yelp, the Voice argued in the suit, is hurting the publication’s capability to generate revenue, harming the Voice‘s reputation and causing consumer confusion. The Voice will be damaged by “loss of reader loyalty, adverting sales, and profits,” according to the document.
Why Yelp in particular? Part of the problem, it would seem, is that the Village Voice has iPhone and Android apps that dole out the “best” recommendations for things to do and see in cities across the U.S. Care to hazard a guess as to what that app is called? That’s right, it’s called “Best Of,” and it competes head-on with Yelp in the local recommendations category.
This isn’t the first time the Voice has gone after a “best of” infringer. Paidcontent pointed out that Village Voice Media Holding sued Time Out New York last year.
The Yelp suit is below. I won’t lie — it’s not a titillating read, unless, of course, you take pleasure in flamboyantly worded (and laughable?) accusations such as this: “Yelp has irreparably damaged the valuable reputation and goodwill of VVMH and its ‘Best of’ marks.”
Courtroom image via Shutterstock