Two Florida Papers Settle ‘Naming’ Dispute

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The owners of the St. Petersburg Times and The Tampa Tribune have settled a dispute over the right to use the name “Tampa Bay Times,” both papers reported.

The St. Petersburg Times uses the name on a free publication launched in 2004, which is also called “tbt.” The Tampa Tribune uses the name in small type on its nameplate.

As part of the settlement, the St. Petersburg Times, whose parent company is Times Publishing Co., will be allowed to continue to call its free publication “tbt/Tampa Bay Times.”

However, it must continue to publish the acronym “tbt” in type seven times larger and increase the size of the words on the publication saying “published by the St. Petersburg Times” or “published by the St. Pete Times.” “Tampa Bay Times” must be accompanied by “tbt” in all advertising. Those restrictions will be lifted after five years.

The Times will also get three Internet domain names containing “tampabaytimes,” but it has agreed not to link them to any Times Publishing site for five years. Both sides agreed not to use each other’s trademarks for online search engine advertising.

The Tampa Tribune and its parent company, Media General Operations Inc., and an affiliated company, Tribune Co. Holdings Inc., will retain rights to the name “Tampa Times.”

The naming dispute began in February when the owners of the Tribune sued the Times for trademark infringement in federal court. The Times countersued, claiming that the Tribune had abandoned the mark “Tampa Times.”

The parties agreed to pay their own lawyers fees and to split the costs of mediation.

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