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The Irish Times is suing Times Newspapers over the name of its new website

The Irish Times is going to court to stop a new online news publication called The Times Ireland from using that name.

Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

THE IRISH TIMES has launched High Court proceedings against Times Newspapers Ltd over the alleged intended use by the UK publisher of the title ‘The Times Ireland’ for a new online news publication.

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

Today Jonathan Newman SC for the Irish Times Ltd said his client has brought proceedings because the “potential for confusion is enormous”. The proposed use of the name The Times Ireland, counsel added, 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 7-day subscription package with The Sunday Times.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted lawyers for the Irish Times Ltd permission to serve short notice of the proceedings against the Times Newspaper Ltd following an ex-parte application. The judge made the matter returnable to a date later this month.

In its proceedings the Irish Times Ltd seeks several orders including ones preventing Times Newspapers Ltd from using the name or title ‘The Times Ireland’, or any name similar to the Irish Times in respect of a newspaper or on-line newspaper.

The Irish Times 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 it was aware for some months the defendants intended to publish an Irish edition e-paper and had no issue with that. However the Irish Times did have a complaint about the use of titles such as ‘The Times Ireland’ or ‘Times Ireland.’

Counsel said the Irish Times only became aware in the last week, following posts on social media, that the defendants proposed publication would be called ‘The Times Ireland’ . The use of the name will cause his clients, who own online publication is viewed 6 million times every month, “enormous problems”, counsel added.

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

Counsel said in correspondence lawyers for the Times Newspapers 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 knew since last February that it had intended to launch “The Times Ireland”. There were no imminent plans for the proposed publication to be launched prior to 5 June next, the correspondence added.

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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