Why Vogue Magazine Is In A Legal Battle With A Bar

By Joseph Farago | 1 month ago

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Vogue is having a tumultuous legal battle with a bar in England. The reason? This small bar in England sports the same name as the iconic fashion magazine. The Star Inn at Vogue in Cornwall, England, is at the center of a gigantic legal altercation because of its remote connection to the Vogue brand and name.

For those wondering if Star Inn is butting heads with Vogue purposefully, it certainly is not. The quaint spot is known for its Friday night meat raffles and the hair salon Star Cutz that shares the building with the bar. Condé Nast will find you and slap you with a lawsuit, no matter how big or small. That’s what happened to Star Inn’s longtime owner Mark Graham, who received a strongly worded letter from Condé Nast stating that the bar should change its name or face repercussions.

The letter addressed the impending lawsuit due to the closeness with the Star Inn at Vogue’s name and the international fashion magazine. Those two could be affiliated with each other was enough for Condé Nast to contact the English bar. Sabine Vandenbroucke, the chief operating office for Condé Nast, discussed the reasoning behind this absurd letter, stating that “the company is the proprietor of the Vogue mark,” which, of course, would reasonably lead to a lawsuit. Vandenbroucke later said that because of both names’ similarities, the company was worried that they would be affiliated with each other and cause confusion amongst the magazine’s clientele.

When the Star Inn received the letter, it seemed like one big prank by the locals of the bar. It wasn’t until Mark Graham studied the letter again that he noticed it was the real deal and that Condé Nast had a legitimate issue with his business. Graham stated how unreasonable the request was from the fashion magazine enterprise, reiterating that the Vogue in the bar’s name refers to a Cornish hamlet, a form of small settlement that had been around for centuries. On top of it all, Vogue’s massive international following does not overlap with this town’s pub attendees, making the lawsuit possibility a ridiculous threat.

Nevertheless, Star Inn’s owner Graham penned a letter back to the company, indicating the reasoning behind the bar’s name. “You didn’t seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue,” Graham said, referring to the Cornish towns existing before the magazine was established in 1916. He also referred to Madonna’s hit song “Vogue” and how the fashion magazine never sued her for using their trademarked title. At the end of the letter, Graham made sure Condé Nast knew that the answer to their request was a resounding “no.”

After Graham’s letter and perhaps a quick Google search, Condé Nast issued another letter to the bar apologizing and revoking their request. Christopher P. Donnellan, one of Condé Nast’s attorneys, responded to Graham’s letter addressing their appreciation for the history lesson. Donnellan added that the team who brought up the name issue should’ve done more research before contacting the English bar. Now that the Star Inn is off the hook, Graham intends to keep joking about the incident, with his patrons requesting the bar to host a Vogue fashion week despite Condé Nast’s previous threatening letters.