Lisa Belkin, who has written the Motherlode blog on NYT.com for years, has decided the grass is greener over at The Huffington Post. This in itself, I find kind of sad, since Lisa has built her reputation attached to the New York Times brand, but so goes the world of new media. But the story has made an interesting turn since Ms. Belkin used the move to change the name of her column from Motherlode to Parentlode. Whether she did this, as she says, because ‘“Motherlode” doesn’t really fit in an era when fathers are every bit the parent,’ or because she needed a new name, is anyone’s guess. However, the NYT doesn’t agree that this is a good name, or at least that it doesn’t run up against their trademark on the use of “motherlode” for a column of this type.
NYT lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Huffington Post yesterday, WWD reports. “While we are flattered by your focus on our blog and your apparent fondness for its name, we obviously cannot permit you to adopt a name whose sole purpose is to create an association in the minds of readers with our ‘Motherlode’ blog…” NYT lawyer Richard Samson wrote. “This is a transparent attempt to capitalize on the fame and reputation of the original nytimes.com blog, and constitutes an obvious infringement of The Times’ rights under U.S. Trademark law.”
We’ve always enjoyed Lisa from her days doing the Preppy Handbook, and we wish her continued success, whatever she calls herself.