The apology issued by Vogue magazine to a Cornish pub was well received, but did the publishers have a point? Nick Fenner partner and head of the intellectual property disputes team at law firm TLT comments.

The Landlords Star Inn at Vogue were surprised to receive a letter from Conde Naste the publisher of Vogue fashion magazine alleging the public would assume the businesses were connected. Conde Naste required that changes were made to remove the confusion to avoid “remedial action”.

Based in Redruth Cornwall and described on Trip Adviser as “unpretentious friendly local pub” serving steak and ales pies, the 150-year-old pub would seem an unlikely place for Vogue magazine to extent is global fashion empire.

However, the alarms were triggered at Conde Naste HQ when Mark and Rachel Graham registered a UK company under the name THE STAR INN VOGUE LIMITED with its registered office at “Flat Above The Star Inn Vogue”.

Conde Naste, have backed down upon discovering Vogue is the village name where the pub is located. However, this does not mean that Conde Naste would not otherwise have had legitimate grounds to try and control the use of the term “vogue” in the hospitality industry.

Conde Naste like other brand owners protect their brands against unauthorised use by registering them as a trade marks. A search of the UK Intellectual Property Office shows that Conde Naste were granted a trade mark registration in March 2020 for the word VOGUE covering a wide variety of hospitality services including “Services for providing food and drink; services for providing accommodation; temporary accommodation; accommodation and boarding for animals; hotel, bar, wine-bar, café and restaurant services; “ and “organising and conducting parties, festivals and entertainment events;

Vogue magazine regularly publishes lists of its favourite hotels, under titles such as “5 Cotswolds Hotels For A Quintessentially British Escape”. Although mainly a publishing business, it would not be surprising if VOGUE magazine were considering leveraging the strength of that brand by licencing its use to third party luxury hotel/bar/restaurant operators. Their trade mark registration covering those services would seem to confirm that intention.

While the Star Inn may not quite fit with the profile of likely Vogue magazine properties, it looks like there is little the publisher can do to prevent the Star Inn continuing to using Vogue as part of its name given its history of use and local connection. 

That does not mean that Conde Naste would not be able to object to another hospitality business using Vogue in its name. Its 2020 trade mark registration owned by the publisher would give it a right to object to any business using the word VOGUE in its title. It would also allow it to object to any move by the Star Inn to further align itself with the magazines business by adopting a similar font to the famous magazine title or in the unlikely event it was to host a fashion shows!

This incident demonstrates the importance when choosing a brand for a new hospitality businesses to carry out a clearance search of the trade mark register. Even though their may be no evidence that anyone is actually using a similar brand in the hospitality business, often trade mark owners will register their brands across a wide range of goods and services with the intention of licensing them to third parties.  This is an increasing trend where an association with an already established brand can be a valuable marketing asset.


Q. What is the difference between children and young persons for the purposes of employment?

A. The legal framework around employing children applies different rules for employing a “child” as opposed to employing a “young person”. A “child” is defined as any person who is not over compulsory school age (section 558, Education Act 1996). In England and Wales, children are required to attend school until the last Friday in June in the academic year in which they turn 16; in Scotland, a child must attend school until they reach the age of sixteen.  A "young person" is defined as someone over compulsory school age but under the age of eighteen (section 579 of the Education Act 1996 and regulation 2 of the Working Time Regulations 1998).  In addition, it’s important to note that under the Children and Young Persons Act 1993 there is an extended definition of “employment”. Under this Act, a person will be “employed” even if they receive no payment, provided they are assisting in a trade or occupation carried on for profit – so, for example, this would cover children who help out at premises owned by their parents; but would not cover unpaid work carried out for a charity or community organisation, because there is no profit motive.

Q. My licence has been revoked following a review (not a summary review). How do I go about appealing the decision and can I trade until the appeal is heard?

A. You have 21 days from receiving notice of the decision of the committee to lodge an appeal to the magistrates court. If you appeal in time then you can continue to trade until your appeal is determined. If you fail to appeal within the 21 days you must create trading.

Originally published in Pub & Bar magazine.

Date published

01 July 2022


View all