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 NYTimes.com 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 Kachinglex.com, which looks very much like a NYTimes.com 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