from the nast-y dept
Conde Nast has shown itself to be heavy-handed in the past when it comes to IP laws. And like any other large publisher, Conde Nast makes a habit of policing its IP, including its trademarks. But when you do that policing, you really do have to commit to at least having the bare minimum of common sense, or else you look really, really foolish.
You know, like when Conde Nast sent a threat letter to The Star Inn at Vogue, a pub in the UK in a small village called Vogue, all because Conde Nast also operates a little magazine you may have heard of called Vogue.
The Star Inn at Vogue, thought to be at least 150 years old, is in the small village of Vogue, near Redruth. Vogue magazine publisher Condé Nast told the pub its name might “cause problems”.
The letter demanded to know the nature of the pub’s business (really?) and whether the pub would be open to changing the name it’s had for 150 years. Mark Graham, of the pub, has basically laughed all this off. In fact, he responded to Conde Nast with a letter of his own.
Mark Graham, who has been landlord with his wife Rachel for 17 years, wrote back, saying: “Whilst I found your letter interesting on the one hand, I also found it hilariously funny on the other.”
“I explained to them that the village has been here for 200 years, the pub slightly less than that. We chose the name of the pub to be the name of the village.”
He said he was had considered countering their claim over the use of the word because “we were there first”.
Now, to its credit, Conde Nast has since responded to Graham indicating that it was “grateful” for his reply, happy to learn more about the Inn and the surrounding “part of the country” (mmkay), and that after “further research” that Conde Nast probably never should have sent the threat letter to begin with.
And that’s really the problem here. Conde Nast is free to police its trademarks all it wants, but it should probably be done with at least a modicum of professionalism. Maybe the 10 minutes worth of research it would take to know not to send the threats could have been performed before the threats were sent, rather than afterwards.
But, hey, I guess it’s easier to just shoot first and ask questions later.