By: E&P Staff
A federal judge has ordered the publishing companies of The Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times to take to mediation their trademark dispute over the free daily the Times publishes in the Tribune’s backyard.
Saying a mediation conference might satisfy both sides, U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. ordered the companies to select a mediator by Aug. 17, and hold a mediation conference by the beginning of February. The order was reported Tuesday in a Tampa Tribune article by Mari Robyn Jones.
At the heart of the dispute is a free weekday paper the St. Petersburg Times began publishing in Tampa last winter called The Tampa Times.
The Tribune’s publishing companies — Tribune Company Holdings Inc. and Media General Operations Inc. — sued Feb. 17, saying they owned the right to the name, and that the name infringes on their trademark. Tampa Times is the name of the afternoon paper the Tribune owners folded in the 1980s.
In a countersuit filed last spring, Times Publishing Co. contends the name was abandoned. It also is asking for Media General to transfer to it Internet domain names of Tampa Bay Times that the company bought after the Times launched its free tabloid.
Judge Moody in March issued an order prohibiting Timesw Publishing from prominently displaying the Tampa Bay Times name.
Since then, the paper’s logo consists of the lower-case letters tbt with an asterisk. At the bottom of the circular logo, another asterisk precedes the name Tampa Bay Times in smaller type.