Nightclub forced to change name following threat of trademark infringement action by Advance Publications, which produces the English edition of the prestigious fashion magazine Vogue. The club was set up in Burnley in the north of England in 2002. Its owners have until 9 January 2018 to rebrand the club and to cease using the name ‘Vogue’ on social media.

Managers Rebecca and Jason McQuoid have questioned the need for the action by Vogue’s publishers. “No one’s going to think: ‘I wonder if Kate Moss is at Vogue Burnley this week?’,”they told local radio station 2BR. “Everyone knows it’s nothing to do with the magazine. Bullying, I can’t think of any other word – it’s a big business bullying a small one.” However, according to the BBC, the magazine has told the McQuoid’s to change the club’s name as it plans to start its own club nights.

The name change will likely incur considerable cost; for example, the façade cladding will have to be changed, new advertisements campaigns established and employee uniforms updated. The club’s social media accounts will also need to be changed.

Could this have been avoided?

Trademark attorneys routinely see instances of companies having to undergo expensive and often unnecessary rebrands following such threats of legal action. It is for this reason, that we always advise brand owners – of all sizes and industries – to undertake trademark availability searching prior to the launch of any new brand.

Such examples of action are not as rare as you might think. Earlier this year, a music venue in Yorkshire called The Ritz was ordered to change its name or face legal action by the owners of the famous London hotel. The venue had been operating under that name for 80 years, but appears to have only recently come to the London Ritz’s attention as a result of its presence on social media.