Magazine publisher sues over 'Motherhood' name

SINGAPORE - The publisher of local parenting magazine Motherhood has sued a husband-and-wife team who run an online parenting magazine and Web portal for using the name "Today's Motherhood", in a hearing which started on Tuesday in the High Court.

Motherhood, alleging trademark infringement and passing off, is seeking damages and an injunction to stop Madam Elaine Lau, Mr Lim Poh Heng and their firm TNAP Services from continuing to use the name.

Motherhood is a monthly magazine that has been published since 1983, while Today's Motherhood was started in June 2009.

In its suit, the plaintiff contends it has built an extensive reputation in its magazine, which has achieved significant sales turnover and high subscription rates. It alleges the defendants' acts were calculated to mislead the public into thinking their publication was linked to the plaintiff's.

The defendants renamed their online magazine The New Age Parents early last year following a rebranding exercise. This came after they received a cease-and-desist letter from the plaintiff in September 2011.

The defendants deny that they have misled the public. They contend that "motherhood" is a common and generic word and that the "Today's Motherhood" name is visually and aurally dissimilar to the plaintiff's "Motherhood" mark.

They argue that the two magazines use different models - theirs is a free online publication while the plaintiff's is a printed publication sold at newsstands and bookstores.


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