Voice Media Group Drops Trademark Lawsuit Against Yelp

Voice Media Group, which owns the Miami New Times, settled it's less than two-week old trademark infringement lawsuit with Yelp over Yelp's use of "Best Of" lists. No money changed hands.

Yelp agreed to stop using the trademarked name and return will revert to "Best of Yelp [City Name]." In return Voice agreed to drop the lawsuit.

Voice runs annual "Best Of" lists, highlighting everything from restaurants to gyms to local personalities in cities from Miami to Los Angeles. The company has the term trademarked in ten cities, among them Phoenix, Houston, Miami and Seattle, and sued Yelp in Arizona federal court.

Commentators and media observers poked fun at Voice Media Group, which has a history of aggressively taking other companies to court over "Best Of" use. It won a suit against Ticketmaster in 2000 and in 2011 sued Time Out magazine for its "Best of NYC."

Jeff John Roberts of paidcontent.org said "more broadly, the lawsuit reflects Village Voice Media Holdings' effort to find more revenue streams at a time when alternative newspapers have lost their cachet."

In this latest case, Voice demanded any profits Yelp earned while it was using the "Best Of" phrase and any other costs incurred during the lawsuit.

"This is the best possible outcome not only for the 13 Voice Media Group news outlets, but also the alternative newsweekly industry in general," Voice Media Group CEO Scott Tobias told the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. "It's a key part of our business and our media brands."

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