Associated Lays Legal Claim to ‘Mail’ Name in Desmond Battle

25 February 2003

Associated Newspapers has served an injunction on Express Newspapers’ owner Richard Desmond in an attempt to prevent him from using the name ‘Mail’ on the masthead of his planned daily London freesheet The Evening Mail.

The latter will compete head-on with Associated's London publishing monopoly of the daily freesheet series Metro and the paid-for Evening Standard.

Also the publisher of longstanding national title the Daily Mail, Associated clearly believes it has a monopoly on fifty per cent of that name – a notion that will surprise the publishers of the Hull Daily Mail, Sunday Mail (Scotland), the Birmingham Evening Mail , the Western Mail, the North West Evening Mail and other famed titles such as the Aldershot News & Mail and the Woking News & Mail.

Space does not permit further examples but WAMN is happy to present this much abbreviated list gratis to Desmond’s lawyers.

Associated’s legal ploy follows hard on the heels of reports last week that it is also planning to launch a tacky tabloid of its own in direct competition to Desmond’s annoyingly successful Daily Star. Although this would be a costly riposte by Associated, such is the ego of choleric press magnates that it just might actually happen.

Meantime the war of words between Desmond and Associated’s head honcho Lord Rothermere has reached cartoon proportions, the former relying on variations on a theme of pornography, the latter on the double-edged sword of insinuations of anti-semitism.

Addressing a recent conference of the Jewish educational body ORT, Desmond, himself Jewish, reminded his audience of the Rothermere family’s one-time admiration of Nazi Germany.

“Vere Rothermere,” he accused, “is also the man whose father said Hitler was right in dealing with the Jewish problem in Germany and how those same plans should be replicated in Britain.”

But judging by the furore following his remarks and subsequent declarations of support for the present scion of Rothermere by prominent British jews, Desmond managed only to score a spectacular own goal.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff