Mail name row reaches High Court

Associated Newspapers and Express Newspapers went head to head at London’s High Court this week over Express plans to launch a free evening newspaper for London called the Evening Mail, writes Jess Harrold.

Associated is asking Mr Justice Laddie to block the launch of the new paper, which would give the capital’s readers a free alternative to its own Evening Standard.

It is asking the judge to rule that use of the name the Evening Mail would constitute breach of its own trademark, which it claims covers the words “The Mail” on their own, passing off, or misrepresentation.

Associated’s counsel, Simon Thorley QC, said that the simple phrase “The Mail” was commonly used by the public to indicate his client’s two papers, the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.

He said: “We claim a significant reputation in the words ‘The Mail’, just as the Telegraph, the Mirror and, dare I say it, the Express would.”

He said that the essence of the misrepresentation claim was that readers or advertisers may believe the Evening Mail was “part of the same stable” as Associated’s titles. He said people would expect the new title to have the same views and tenor they had come to expect from the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.

Express Newspapers is expected to rely in its defence on the accepted use of the word “Mail” in local papers and the question of whether Associated’s trademark – which is registered for newspapers for sale in the UK – applies to free titles.

Mr Justice Laddie is expected to reserve his decision.

Jess Harrold

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