Village Voice Media Sues Yelp

Battle over the use of the phrase ‘Best of’

Trademarks and copyrights can be tricky territory, and Yelp is learning this the hard way after being hit with a lawsuit by Village Voice Media (VVM), parent company of The Village Voice, for using the term “Best of” on their website — a term for which VVM holds a trademark. The lawsuit cites a total of 10 cities in which Yelp used the phrase, including Phoenix, Houston, and Denver.

Village Voice Media previously sued Time Out New York over their annual “Best of” issue, ordering the destruction of all unsold copies. In that case, then-Voice publisher Tony Ortega mentioned that the magazine had owned a copyright on “Best of NYC” since 1955. The phrasing would suggest that only “Best of NYC” is covered, and not “Best of” in regards to any other city, and the end result had VVM dropping the suit after Time Out New York countersued, claiming that the term was generic.