By Jena Ardell
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Ledbetter's site features original press criticism and links to other New York media outlets. A link to the Press is conspicuously missing, but the name "New York Press" appears frequently in his column, sometimes as many as seven times on a page. Ledbetter says when he launched the site, no one had registered "New York Press" as a trademark, so he filed an application and began using the name (the "TM" indicates that the application is pending).
The site, which attracts "several thousand unique visitors" a month, has been up for seven months. But the Press has been in business 13 years. Despite the obvious dis, Ledbetter denies trading on the weekly's name and claims "New York Press" is more descriptive of his site than of that paper.
But Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher litigator Andrew Rotstein disagrees. On behalf of the Press, Rotstein sent Ledbetter a bullying cease-and-desist letter dated March 15. "Mr. Ledbetter has unfairly and consciously and in bad faith tried to exploit our name," says Rotstein, who suggests Ledbetter could just as well use a domain name like "gothammedia" or "knickerbockerpress" for his site. Rotstein's letter demands that Ledbetter stop using the name, abandon his trademark application, and surrender all rights to the name foreveror face costly litigation. At press time, Ledbetter had not responded, choosing instead to tell the story first to New York magazine and then to Press Clips.
Asked when he plans to initiate a lawsuit, Rotstein says, "Stay tuned."