Express Newspapers has vowed to fight on after Associated Newspapers won a case to stop it launching a London paper called the Evening Mail.
The company said it would appeal against the High Court judgment and would press ahead with plans for its new evening paper for the capital.
Paul Ashford, editorial director of Express Newspapers, said: “We have many options for names but we fought this case as part of a crusade to break Associated’s stranglehold on printed media in the London area.
“We are determined that Londoners should have a choice. This may be our Dunkirk, but we will get to Berlin and will not stop until we have liberated London from this tyrannical monopoly. Our plans to launch an evening newspaper in London will continue.”
In making his ruling, Mr Justice Laddie said: “In my view there is a likelihood of confusion if the defendants use either the Evening Mail or the London Evening Mail as the title of their paper. There will be a natural tendency to shorten such names to ‘The Mail’ and it follows that there is a significant risk that members of the public would do that.”
He added that there was an “appreciable risk” that significant damage would be caused to the ability of Associated to control the “personality” of its newspapers if the Express group were allowed to use the title.
He said: “Both parties express strong political and other views through their respective papers. I do not think it is fanciful to suggest, as the claimant does, that a strident campaign run by the Evening Mail which might upset a part of the public could result in customers boycotting the claimant’s titles.
“Furthermore, the papers in the defendant’s stable include advertisements for adult chat lines and massage parlours. I was told that sort of advertising material would not be accepted for inclusion in either of the claimant’s Mail papers and there was no wish to be associated with such material.”
He said that in the result Associated succeeded in its passing-off claim and that use of the name the Evening Mail would infringe Associated’s trademark in the phrase The Mail.
However, he rejected Associated’s further claims that it would also infringe its trademarks in the names Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday. He said an injunction would have to be carefully drafted so as not to give relief beyond what was necessary.
An Associated spokesman said: “This case is about a threat to a core Mail brand. Associated could not contemplate standing by while our goodwill and reputation where being hijacked by a rival.”
By Jon Slattery and Roger Pearson