Connecticut Magazine sues Hartford Magazine, alleging trademark infringement in an effort to target the domestic demographic. Let the coffee table war rage![Disclosure: This reporter’s byline has appeared in both magazines.]
In the struggle for precious advertising dollars, the Journal Company Inc., which owns Connecticut Magazine, sued Hartford Magazine in U.S. District Court last week, in an effort to block the newer glossy from launching a quarterly publication with the same name as one of the Journal Company’s existing products. Such a launch would constitute trademark infringement, the Journal Company alleged.The controversy surrounds Connecticut Home, a supplement first used by Connecticut Magazine last summer, according to the complaint. Shortly after, the owners of Hartford Magazine announced plans for their own Connecticut Home, described as a lifestyle magazine “on everything for the home” like design, gardening and entertaining, the lawsuit said, with a target launch of September 2005.Because of the two identical names, readers and advertisers will be confused into thinking that Hartford Magazine’s product is somehow related to Connecticut Magazine’s product, the lawsuit said. The similarity also allows Hartford Magazine to profit from all of the advertising paid for by its competitor, the lawsuit said.Hartford Magazine’s Publisher Michael Guinan did not respond to a call for comment. The Journal Company’s lawsuit does not list a trademark number for its Connecticut Home publication, however, and the federal copyright database does not have a record of such a registration. Still, the company contends that the publication also threatens its Connecticut Home and Garden trademark.Connecticut Magazine has a long publishing history in the state, dating back to the 1930’s, before being bought by the Journal Company. In addition to Connecticut Magazine, the Journal Company is part of the Journal Register Co., which owns the New Haven Register, the Torrington Register Citizen, the Litchfield County Times and numerous other Connecticut newspapers.Hartford Magazine began publishing in 2003. It publishes many of the same kinds of stories as its elder competition, such as restaurant surveys and listings of the region’s top doctors.