Politico Sues Tory Politico Over Trademark

tory-politico-screencapThe folks at Politico really don’t like it when others use a similar name.  HuffPo‘s Jason Linkins:

As a part of its ongoing effort to retain exclusive brand licensing rights to a word that’s been a part of the English language since the early seventeenth century, Politico has ordered a British website called Tory Politico to stop using the word “politico,” because — who knows? Maybe you might accidentally end up at the latter site and become confused as to why your favorite Beltway press-release mill has suddenly become obsessed with Parliament and Gordon Brown and Torchwood or something?

Apparently, they’ve gotten away with it before:

This isn’t the first time Politico has gotten all mad litigious on some obscure website. Soon after its founding, and its subsequent change of name from The Capitol Leader to Politico, the paper went after La Politica and forced them to change their name to Candidato USA, despite the fact that La Politica was exclusively dedicated to the Hispanic-American community.

Brown should take heart, however, because Politico mounted a similar campaign to get conservative political blog The College Politico to relinquish its name, but the College Politico remains so named to this day.

Presumably, College Politico has held out since Stephen Gutowski’s usage predates Vandehei and company’s version.   Tory Politico, on the other hand, is a recent creation — started well after The Politico was a known quantity.

While I get the desire to protect branding — I’ve been irked by the subsequent creation of blogs with names similar or identical to mine — I agree with Linkins that the potential for confusion between a blog devoted to British politics and a major newspaper is slim, indeed.

Ana Marie Cox — now employed by GQ — suggests that “every political blog in the world should change its name to Politico. Right now.“   An amusing idea.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    I’ve been irked by the subsequent creation of blogs with names similar or identical to mine

    Those punks at the Heritage Foundation use “Outside the Beltway” all the time for posts.

    Also, the pathetic pilferer Brian Lamb stole OTB for some stupid podcast, also.

    You should sue those bastards, ASAP

  2. MichaelW says:

    Politico really doesn’t have a choice. In order to maintain one’s intellectual property one must vigorously defend it, even sometimes to the point of seeming absurdity. Witness the Times of London suing a small town Virginia paper for the same reason.

    In this case, either Politico wins, or it hopefully gets a ruling that delineates exactly why there is no likelihood of confusion as to the brand. But in order to keep its IP protection, it must sue.