The Star Inn at Vogue, owned by husband-and-wife Rachel and Mark Graham, gets its name from the village it is in – Vogue, near Redruth.
In March, the Grahams received a letter from Condé Nast, which stated that the name of their establishment may “cause problems” if people believed it was affiliated with the famous fashion magazine.
“As far as the public is concerned, a connection between your business and ours is likely to be inferred,” the letter said.
“Please would you kindly let us know in what field of business your company is trading/intending to trade and whether you will change your company’s name in order to avoid problems arising.”
Rachel, the pub’s landlady, said the couple initially thought the letter was a prank.
“When we first received the letter, we thought ‘that’s a bit daft, is this a joke?’ And then we realised, ‘no this is a bit serious,’” she told The Independent.
She said the legal threat was likely triggered by the couple registering their business as a limited company in February.
However, they have been running the business with its name for 17 years, and the building is thought to be more than 100 years old.
In his response to the publisher’s legal team, Mark said he found the letter “hilariously funny”.
“If a member of your staff had taken the time to investigate, they would have discovered that our company is in the small village of Vogue,” he said.
“Yes, that’s right, Vogue is the name of our own village, which has been in existence for hundreds of years.”
“In answer to your question of whether we would change the name of our company, it is a categoric NO,” he added.
Mark explained that the name of the Star Inn was chosen based on its location. He also questioned whether Vogue’s publishers had considered the village when naming the magazine.
“I note in your letter that you have only been in existence since 1916, and I presume at that time when you chose the name Vogue, you did not seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue for their permission.
“Feel free to come to Cornwall and visit us for any further information you require. I would love to show you around our small village. I’ll even buy you lunch and a beer for your trouble.”
While the couple are yet to receive a response from Condé Nast, Rachel said they don’t think further legal action is likely.
“We’re not really concerned about it,” she said. “Somebody just didn’t do their homework when they first saw the name [of the pub] pop up.
“If they had just googled us, they would have seen we are just a small community pub with no contradiction to them as a magazine. A lot of Cornish people are very up in arms [about it].”
The Independent has contacted Condé Nast for comment.
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