Blog Post

NYT Slaps Micropayment Service Kachingle With Trademark Suit

The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) is suing micropayments system Kachingle after the service maintained several of the flagship newspaper’s blogs without permission. But as the Trademark Blog points out, the suit is not over copyright infringement. Instead, the NYTCo is accusing Mountain View-based Kachingle of violating its trademarks. The suit notes that Kachingle has attempted to market its services to consumers, based on the expectation that the will start charging readers for access next year.

The NYTCo says that Kachingle approached executives of the paper in Feb. 2009 about giving the micropayments provider access to its articles and blogs. In exchange, Kachingle would give the NYTCo money it collects from consumers, who voluntarily pay for its news distribution service. But the NYT said Kachingle neglected to mention that it would keep a portion of the micropayments and told the site it wasn’t interested in participating in its program.

According to the NYTCo’s legal filing, last month, Kachingle opened a site called, which looks very much like a blog page. “Did you hear about the looming paywall?” the site’s home asks as part of its marketing materials. “Here at Kachingle, we are committed to helping keep the web open and social. Kachingle is an alternative to a forced, solitary paywall. And now you can support the New York Times blogs you love directly, with a voluntary contribution of just $5/month.”

The look of that site is apparently what the NYTCo decided to go after, saying it tries to make it seem as if there is a business relationship between the two. It’s not clear what sort of damages the NYTCo is seeking.

The NYTCo’s full legal filing is below:

Complaint Ny Times v Kachingle

One Response to “NYT Slaps Micropayment Service Kachingle With Trademark Suit”

  1. David, there’s one VERY important reason behind this suit, just to be clear.

    My guess is that the famous ‘metered’ NYT plans will be precisely this: an exclusive to NYT (initially) micro-payment e-commerce model, where you hand over your credit card details ONE time, and you’re good for life.

    Now through in the NYT on iPad – where you can buy more of anything with a touch of a finger – and I think these guys have cracked it. NYT stock is cheap.