Publisher loses 'This Is' case

A woman whose company has produced a magazine guide to the capital called This Is London since 1956 has lost her “David v Goliath” trademark battle with publishing giant Associated Newspapers Ltd, which uses the same name for its Evening Standard website.

Ruling that Julie Jones, owner and managing director of This Is London Magazine Ltd, was not entitled to register the name as a trademark – Associated has already registered it for its website without opposition – trademark judge David Landau commented : “David has been recognised by the legislators, however Goliath also has his rights.”

Jones had argued that the company she bought in 1981 had distributed its weekly guide for visitors to hotels in London since 1956, and currently has a circulation of 10,000.

Associated – which also owns the trademark for the phrase “This Is”, used in conjunction with city and area names across the country for the websites of the group’s local newspapers – launched its Evening Standard site www.thisislondon.com in December 1997.

Finding in favour of Associated, the judge said: “Ms Jones referred to this being a David and Goliath contest, Associated being Goliath. She also made reference to the use of the trade mark for the magazine since 1956.

“David has been recognised by the legislators. However, this relates to continuing use, the status quo. By making the application Ms Jones is not maintaining the status quo, a new step is being made. Goliath also has his rights, as well as David.” He added that Jones does own an earlier registered trademark for the masthead of her magazine. Jones was ordered to pay Associated £1,750 towards its costs of opposing her application

By Roger Pearson

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