Geographically similar names in newspaper infringement

We are being accused (informally, for now) of brand name infringement based on the claim that our site:

<small town name>DailyTidings.com

uses a sufficiently similar name they allege can be confused by customers with their long-standing brand:

<small town name>News.com

They are competitors in a geographically specific market, and have some similar products. Is this name similar enough to have merit in a US court, or have enough merit to make a would-be opposing counsel think it does, and hence, file a suit?

Your site is xxxDailyTidings and their site is XXXNews.com and they are claiming trademark or copyright infringement?

Tell them to **** off.

IANAL

Absolutely. Unless the place name is BBC, and even then you’d have a very strong case, they simply cannot do anything about it.

From the info given, it certainly sounds like they have no grounds whatsoever for a trademark infringement claim.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there who don’t like competition, and they resort to trying to abuse stuff like trademark and other intellectual property laws to put people out of business.

Nothing stopping them pursuing it in court if they really want to. There’s plenty of frivolous lawsuits these days, 99% of them fail big time, but you still need to have the money and resources to defend yourself and then hope you are awarded costs when you win.

If you feel they may get more serious, you should consult a lawyer who could send them a formal response that points out how deluded they are. As usual, it’s the lawyers who always win in these matters.

Anyway, don’t let them bully you, but remain calm, considered and unemotional in all communication.

Thanks all for the advice, much appreciated :slight_smile:

Well we’re in pre-launch and they’re already slinging dirt, the question is if an attorney somewhere would take the case and then we’d have to spend money to defend, which is how they win unless you get attorney’s fees from them 5 steps down the road, or their attorney believes you might, so that’s the question. Substantively it’s the equivalent of the New York Times suing the New York Post for using the term “New York”, but stranger things have brought suits. How much should I budget for an official sounding nasty letter if we get one from their attorney, wondering how much Christmas money I need to save for this eventuality.

Hire a lawyer to engage the other companies lawyers and see what happens. You don’t need them to ‘take the case’, you just need to write them a check to advise you and talk to them on your behalf.

I doubt anyone is going to court over this one.