Monday 19 February 2018

London Times obliged to put 'clear water' between it and Irish Times with new digital edition, court hears

Tim Healy

The trademark and values of the Irish Times will be “blurred and diluted” unless the London Times is prohibited from infringing its trademarks in a planned digital edition of the UK paper, it has been argued in the Commercial Court.

Jonathan Newman SC said the Irish Times has substantial numbers in support of its reputation and business in the State and it is not disputed it has some 6.5 million online users of its website per month, plus 120,000 monthly users of its news app.

The Irish Times has an “enormous presence” in the State both in terms of hard copy and its digital edition while the London Times has a “miniscule half percent of newspaper sales in the State, counsel said.

His side’s concern was that if Times Newspapers Ltd, publishers of the Times of London and the Sunday Times, were allowed use the words: “The Times Irish edition” in promoting its planned new digital edition, that would create confusion and blur and dilute the Irish Times trademark an values.

The defendant is obliged to put “clear water” between it and the Irish Times and the court should grant orders to that effect, counsel argued.

The defendant describes itself as “The Times of London” in the US, presumably to distinguish between it and the New York Times, he added.

Times Newspapers Ltd is opposing the application. The company, which previously gave undertakings in relation to certain issues raised, argues there is no entitlement to the injunctions sought.

The case continues before Mr Justice John Hedigan.

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