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Rainbow Sued Over We

A New York-based publisher has filed a $200-million trademark-infringement suit against Cablevision Systems Corp. and its financial partner, General Electric Co.'s NBC, over Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.'s use of the name WE: Women's Entertainment.

The suit claims Rainbow should have known that WeMedia Inc. was using pronoun "We" before deciding to rename Romance Classics with the new moniker.

WeMedia has published a glossy bimonthly magazine for disabled persons since 1997. With the October-November issue, the publication's name was changed to WeMedia
from WE. WeMedia has owned the Web site since 1999.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Jan. 19, contends the use of WE: Women's Entertainment "dilutes the distinctive quality" of WeMedia's trademark.

The company, which also includes 60 non-profit organizations and claims 3 million members, said it has invested $50 million in programs and services developed under its trademarked name.

A Rainbow spokeswoman said the company has yet to see the lawsuit and declined specific comment. Rainbow was "very confident" of its right to use the name, she added.

Attorney Keith Nowak said WeMedia has 48 worldwide copyrights, including a trademark on use of the pronoun in the specific areas of entertainment and publishing.

"We have a very strong case," he said.

The defendants have 20 days to answer the suit.

When Viacom Inc. announced plans to launch the TV Land network in 1995, a suburban Chicago TV-memorabilia retailer called TV Land Inc. sued. At one point, a judge blocked Viacom's use of the name. Viacom eventually settled the case.