Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Eagles Brawl in Brooklyn: Competing Dailies, Brooklyn Eagle and Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Battle over the Name of a Great Paper That Is Long Gone

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Eagles Brawl in Brooklyn: Competing Dailies, Brooklyn Eagle and Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Battle over the Name of a Great Paper That Is Long Gone

Article excerpt

IN BROOKLYN'S HEYDAY, the Brooklyn Eagle was the voice of the New York City borough and the nation's most read afternoon paper.

But it folded in 1955 due to union disputes. Now, two local publishers are trying to revive the fabled name with papers caned the Brooklyn Eagle and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Both publishers believe they own the right to the cherished trademark, and a lawsuit has ensued in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

The suit pits Ed Weintrob, a Brooklyn native who has published local papers in the borough since 1978, against Dozier Hasty, an Atlanta-born businessman who also publishes Brooklyn community, papers.

In September, Weintrob's company, Brooklyn Eagle Ltd., filed suit against Hasty's Eagle Inc., charging "unfair action and false designation." The suit claims Weintrob owns the Brooklyn Eagle trademark and Hasty violated it "on or about" Aug. 23, when he began publishing the Daily Eagle.

The "on or about" is crucial because the dispute may hinge on who began using "Eagle" first. After a trademark expires, it enters the public domain and "the name is up for grabs," according to Lisa-Joy Zgorski, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at the Commerce Department.

So who grubbed first? According to Patent and Trademark records, Weintrob filed an application for the trademark on March 15, but according to Zgorski, this may not matter. Even though the application is on file and will be approved on Dec. 12 unless it's opposed, "first use matters," Zgorski says, meaning the Daily Eagle could successfully challenge the application if it can prove it began using the name first.

Stevan Bosses (cq), it lawyer representing Hasty from the New York firm Fitzpatrick. Cella, Harper & Scinto, claims the Daily Eagle started on Aug. 21 and its first issue carried the date, Aug. 23-30, on its cover.

Meanwhile, Rubin Ferziger, Weintrob's lawyer, says "they, both started on the same day or one or two days apart, but it would be speculative to say who published first. The court must make its determination."

Ferziger also says first use is only part of the decision. Besides the date, it's the totality of circumstances." Circumstances include the fact Hasty was "aware of Plaintiff's rights in and to the name `Brooklyn Eagle,'" Ferziger charges in the suit. …

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