SourceMedia Trademark in Dispute Between Cedar Rapids, New York Companies

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The company that owns KCRG-TV9 and The Gazette is defending use of its new corporate name, SourceMedia, against a New York-based financial publisher that has used the name as an unregistered trademark since 2004.

The Gazette Co., the previous name used by the Cedar Rapids-based company, adopted the trade name SourceMedia Group, Inc. when it filed an application for federal registration of SourceMedia Group on March 19. It also adopted the trademarks SourceMedia and SourceMedia Group for its products and services as part of an effort to re-brand.

Executives said the name change was made to better reflect the way their employees create information and relate to the community in response to changes in the media. The Gazette, they have said, signified an outdated one-way flow of information to the public.

In early August, attorneys for New York City-based SourceMedia Inc. notified The Gazette Co. that it considered the actions to infringe its unregistered SourceMedia trademark and threatened litigation.

The federal legal action filed Aug. 12, the Cedar Rapids company asked the court to declare that the use of the SourceMedia Group and SourceMedia trademarks in connection with specific goods and services listed in its trademark application do not "dilute" the trademark of the New York-based Source Media.

New York-based SourceMedia publishes The Bond Buyer, American Banker and other periodicals in the fields of insurance, banking, mortgages, accounting, financial planning . It is owned by the financial company Investcorp.

The Gazette Co.'s products and services and those of the New York SourceMedia are targeted toward "completely different markets and class of consumers," The Gazette Co. argues. It says The Gazette Co. targets the general public, while Investcorp's SourcMedia targets a "highly sophisticated niche class of consumers in the financial services, investment, insurance and accounting industries."

The trademarks when taken as a whole "have an entirely different look and feel," The Gazette Co. argues.

In a response filed Friday, Investcorp's SourceMedia said the goods and services that the Gazette Company attempted to trademark "are identical or closely related" to those offered by SourceMedia . Those goods and services included printed newspapers, periodicals and newsletters, advertising campaigns for television, print, web design and mobile applications, television broadcasting and news agencies.

The actions of The Gazette Co. are likely to deceive persons or cause mistaken belief that its goods and services are those of Intercorp's SourceMedia or have been endorsed, sponsored or connected with SourceMedia, according to the response. It asks the court to declare the trademark application void and enjoin The Gazette Co. from using Sourcemedia or SourceMedia.

Intercorp's SourceMedia also asks to be awarded the Gazette's profits and its own damages caused by the alleged "infringement, dilution and unfair competition."

The Gazette lawsuit seeks a trial by jury in the case.

Kevin H. Collins, the Cedar Rapids attorney representing New York-based SourceMedia, told the Associated Press that "They (The Gazette Company) wanted to take advantage of the reputation of SourceMedia. They were aware of a party that was using the name and the mark in similar markets and they intentionally adopted that name."

SourceMedia Group is also the parent company of KCRG.com.
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