Vogue magazine backs down after threatening to sue historic Cornish pub with same name

The fashion giant threatened legal action, before finally seeing sense - as West of England Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports

Vogue magazine has backed down after threatening to take legal action against a pub in Cornwall with a similar name.

Condé Nast, the owner of Vogue magazine, sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to the Star Inn at Vogue which is named after the local hamlet.

The letter asked landlords Mark and Rachel Graham to stop using the name of the Cornish hamlet because it might confuse readers.

But after Mark sent a letter in reply, pointing out that the pub is more than 200 years old and the village is even older, the global media company backed down.

Mark told ITV News he was never a chance he was going to change his pub's name.

He said: “There’s always too much a case of the big boys trying to stomp on the little boys, and as soon as I realised what they were trying to do, I went 'you're not having me, my handsome'."

He continued: “We were contemplating taking them to court to get them to cease and desist from using the name of our village for the use of their magazine.“Or we might even even have our own fashion week in Vogue - might call it ‘Vogue fashion week.’”

In a second letter, Condé Nast wrote "We were grateful for your response and to learn more about your business in this beautiful part of our country.

"I am sure you will appreciate why we regularly monitor use of the name VOGUE, including at Companies House (which is how we were alerted to your company name).

"However, you are quite correct to note that further research by our team would have identified that we did not need to send such a letter on this occasion.

"Everyone at Condé Nast wishes you and everyone in Vogue best wishes for a happy summer, and for your upcoming “American Night” on 18 May."

Speaking before the company backed down, Mark said: “When I opened the letter I thought someone in the village was having me on. Surely these people can’t be serious.

"In this modern day and age someone couldn’t be bothered to go onto Google and see that Vogue is a Cornish hamlet that’s been here for hundreds of years. It seems common sense has taken a backseat on this one.”

In his original letter to the New York publisher’s London offices, Mark wrote: “If a member of your staff had taken the time to investigate they would have discovered that our company, the Star Inn, is in the small village of Vogue, near St Day, Cornwall.

"Yes, that’s right, Vogue is the name of our village, which has been in existence for hundreds of years and in fact is a Cornish word, not English.

"I note in your letter that you have only been in existence since 1916 and I presume that at the time when you chose the name Vogue in the capitalised version you didn’t seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue.

"I also presume that Madonna did not seek your permission to use the word Vogue (again the capitalised version) for her 1990s song of the same name.

"You are both at liberty to use the uncapitalised version without our permission. As a side note she didn’t seek our permission either.”

Mark concluded saying: “In answer to your question whether we would change our name, it is a categorical no.”

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