By: Ellen Liburt
Company Says Web Site, New Paper Can’t Use Name
by Ellen Liburt
Will San Antonio daily newspaper readers see a modern-day charge
of the Light brigade?
Not if Hearst Newspapers Partnership L.P. has anything to say
about it. The company that published the defunct San Antonio Light
for decades is suing a maverick local businessman to stop him from
using the name for his news Web site, SanAntonioLight.com, and
planned print newspaper.
‘San Antonio, Texas, is too big and diverse a market to have only
one major daily newspaper. That is a sin,’ said R.G. Griffing,
who July 10 announced his intention to start a paper in November
called The San Antonio Light.
Hearst bought the rival Express-News in 1992 before shuttering its
own San Antonio Light in ’93. In a federal lawsuit filed July 27,
Hearst responded by charging Griffing with trademark infringement,
unfair competition, and cybersquatting, among other things.
Express-News General Manager Tom Stephenson said, ‘We believe that
we do have the name protected and that we own it, and we’re going
to protect our right to that name.’
Griffing – R.G. stands for Richard Gary, who goes by his initials
out of respect for P.T. Barnum, a ‘great influence’ – said Hearst
lost its claim to the name when it failed to file an affidavit of
continued use last year with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
He questions whether Hearst’s trademark is valid if it’s for a
newspaper that no longer publishes. ‘They do maintain an archive
of old papers in digital form,’ he said, ‘but that’s not a newspaper.’
Ellen Liburt (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a reporter for E&P.
(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher