Irish Times takes proceedings over possible use of title ‘The Times Ireland’

Irish Times Ltd says it has taken proceedings as ‘potential for confusion is enormous’

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted an ex parte application by lawyers for The Irish Times Ltd for permission to serve short notice of the proceedings against Times Newspapers Ltd and returned the matter to later this month.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted an ex parte application by lawyers for The Irish Times Ltd for permission to serve short notice of the proceedings against Times Newspapers Ltd and returned the matter to later this month.

 

The Irish Times has initiated proceedings against Times Newspapers Ltd in the High Court over alleged intended use by the UK publisher of the title The Times Ireland for a new online newspaper.

The Irish Times Ltd, publisher of the newspaper, says the use of the title by the online paper, which it claims is due to start publishing imminently, amounts to a breach of The Irish Times trade mark and infringes its copyright.

Jonathan Newman SC, for The Irish Times Ltd, said it has brought proceedings because the “potential for confusion is enormous” and the proposed use of the name The Times Ireland was “a very serious violation” of its copyright.

The new publication, the court heard, is a digital edition of The Times due to be part of a seven-day subscription package with The Sunday Times.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted an ex parte application (one side only represented) by lawyers for The Irish Times Ltd for permission to serve short notice of the proceedings against Times Newspapers Ltd and returned the matter to later this month.

In its proceedings The Irish Times Ltd seeks several orders, including orders preventing Times Newspapers Ltd using the name or title The Times Ireland or any name similar to The Irish Times in respect of a newspaper or online newspaper.

The Irish Times Ltd also seeks orders prohibiting the defendant using the domain names www.thetimesireland.ie, www.timesireland.ie, using the description The Times Ireland on Twitter accounts, using the “T” logo on its twitter account or any other logo confusingly similar to the “IT” logo.

Mr Newman said The Irish Times Ltd was aware for some months the defendants intended to publish an Irish edition e-paper and had no issue with that. His client did have a complaint about the use of titles such as The Times Ireland or Times Ireland.

Counsel said The Irish Times Ltd only became aware in the past week, following posts on social media, that the defendant’s proposed publication would be called The Times Ireland.

The use of that name will cause his clients, whose online publication is viewed six million times every month, “enormous problems”, counsel added.

Undertakings had been sought from the defendants not to use those titles but no undertakings have been given, counsel said.

He said lawyers for the Times Newspapers had in correspondence said there was no basis for asking the High Court to have the injunctions sought put in place. The correspondence also stated The Irish Times Ltd knew since last February of the intention to launch The Times Ireland and there were no “imminent” plans for the proposed publication to be launched before June 5th.