Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tribune sues Fox News over RedEye name

The owner of Chicago's successful (defined as profitable) RedEye free daily, the Tribune Co., has sued Fox News because a new, overnight program it has launched is also called "Red Eye."

According to Crain's, a Chicagoland business publication, Tribune's Feb. 14 lawsuit says the TV show and the free daily “contain nearly identical content” and “viewers are quite likely to assume that Fox and the RedEye products owned by Tribune are collaborating, thereby causing confusion.”

Tribune wanted a temporary restraining order to stop Fox News from going on the air with the Red Eye name, but a judge instead decided to put off any action until a hearing can be held Feb. 26.

In the complaint, Tribune says it has spent almost $4 milion promoting the 150,000-circulation RedEye, a free daily.

Tribune also says it has two federal trademark registrations for the RedEye mark for newspapers, and it has trademark applications pending on the name for television and internet services. Tribune also carries a RedEye program on its regional cable channel, CLTV.

The complaint also gives some insight into conversations between Fox News and Tribune before the suit was filed. It says Fox News “admitted that it did not conduct a trademark search” and “ignored” Tribune’s demand to not use the name. The suit says the Fox News “Red Eye” show first aired on Feb. 6, 2007.

Not to get technical, but Fox News has treated Red Eye as two words while Tribune has two ways of dealing with the word. On the paper's flag, Red Eye is on three decks, with "R" on top, "ED" on the second deck and "EYE" on the bottom deck. Elsewhere, Tribune treats the name as a single word -- "Redeye."