Lawyers for Village Voice Media, which holds the trademark to the name “Best of St. Louis” on behalf of Riverfront Times, has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the proprietors of the website, www.bestofstlouis.com, asking them to take down the site by September 1.
As of this writing it appears that the website is no longer active, but the site’s owners are claiming to be victims of a hacking attack and say that they did not take down the site voluntarily.
According to the Riverfront Times‘ blog, VVM attorney Steve Suskin says the hacking allegation is unfounded:
Suskin maintains that neither Riverfront Times or VVM had anything to do with hacking the site and that the corporation was within its rights to ask Best of St. Louis to stop publishing since it has registered the name Best of St. Louis with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
“I admire their pluck,” he says, “but they’re either ignorant, or thieves stealing our valuable intellectual property. On the business side, it’s considered a valuable enough asset that we’ll enforce and protect it. That’s the whole concept of trademark.”
The incident serves as a reminder that publications which hold the trademark to a city’s “Best of” name have a significant advantage in defending their franchise against challengers and wanna-be competitors.