Yelp sued by Village Voice over 'best of' listings

Dispute centers around the use of two words that are claimed by Village Voice Media Holdings as a registered mark.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper

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The owner of the Village Voice is suing Yelp over the "best of" lists the site offers in several cities.

Village Voice Media Holdings, (VVMH) which filed the suit on Thursday in Arizona federal court, is targeting Yelp's "best of" listings in Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Phoenix; Seattle; St. Louis; San Francisco; Broward and Palm Beach counties, Fla.; and the Twin Cities in Minnesota. News of the lawsuit was first reported Monday by Law360.

VVMH claims in its lawsuit  that it would be "irreparably harmed by Yelp's unauthorized use of the registered marks."

"Yelp sells advertising on the Web pages containing VVMH's Registered Marks and "best of" marks. Yelp admits on its Web site, "Yelp makes money by selling ads to local businesses." On information and belief, the potential advertisers for Yelp's Web pages are some or all of the potential customers of VVMH for advertising on VVMH's Web pages containing the Registered Marks and "Best of" marks.
The lawsuit, which seeks damages as well as a court order stopping Yelp from using the "best of" label, says that Yelp was contacted in mid-September and told to stop using the "best of" label in mid-September. Yelp refused.

We have contacted Yelp for comment and will update this post as more information becomes available.

Village Voice Media, which is based in Phoenix, owns a string of weekly alternative newspapers, including its flagship title, New York's Village Voice.