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Small Shirlington Magazine Forced to Change Name

by ARLnow.com March 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm 1,179 2 Comments

Adrian Urias’ biggest mistake probably was sending an email to promote his small monthly magazine, “Your Shirlington Connection,” to the offices of Alexandria-based Connection Newspapers, publishers of the Arlington Connection. To be fair, Urias, who has lived in Shirlington for two and a half years, to this day has never seen a printed copy of the newspaper being distributed in the neighborhood.

“I personally have never seen one,” said Urias, who launched Your Shirlington Connection six months ago. Alas, Urias says he eventually received a note back from Connection Newspapers, asserting the company’s legal right to exclusively use the “Connection” name in Virginia.

“I thought I did enough to find out it was okay,” Urias said. “When I registered our company name in [Virgina], the name wasn’t flagged as a potential issue.”

Urias quickly agreed to change the name, and this past weekend asked readers to suggest a new name. He’s also looking for someone to come up with a new logo, once the new name is chosen. He has not sought the advice of a lawyer.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Urias said, but “they have been very understanding and cooperative.”

The soon-to-be-renamed magazine, which Urias says he started to build a greater sense of community in Shirlington, claims a circulation of 1,750.

  • Hummmmmmmm. Not a trademark lawyer but I think the argument is dubious. First, it is not a famous mark – so the Connection does not get to make silly Dilution arguments. That leaves it to regular trademark infringement. In those cases, you get to claim infringement to your *mark* — not any derivation of your mark. Part of the premise of Trademark law is that you CAN have Canon towels, Canon camera, Cannon Fishmarket, and Cannon whatever – as long as people are not confused. Now let’s think for a second – can we have multiple papers with the same word in the title without people getting confused? Do people confuse the NY Post with the Washed Up Post? Do people confuse the LA LA Times with the Washington Times? You protection to your trademark – not to the entire landscape. And if your trademark is generic – like the word “times” or “post” – well…. You can see more about trademark law at http://www.cybertelecom.org/dns/trademark.htm Bottom line, unfortunately, it costs money to defend so you have to pick your battles.

  • Shirlington Resident

    A free search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System http://www.uspto.gov found no records for Arlington Connection as a registered trademark.

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