The High Court has this morning refused an application by The Irish Times for injunctions preventing the publishers of The Times of London using the words ‘The Times Irish Edition’ in promoting its new daily digital Irish edition of the UK newspaper.
Judge John Hedigan made the ruling because he said there had been a nine-month delay by the Irish Times in making the objection.
In yesterday’s Sunday Times [not online] Mark Tighe reported:
Brian Murray SC, for Times Newspapers, said although Liam Kavanagh, as chief executive, claimed The Irish Times did not become aware of the proposed “Times Ireland” name until May, tweets from senior Irish Times editorial staff showed they were aware of it since September.
Judge Hedigan was shown tweets from David Cochrane, The Irish Times’s community editor, and Hugh Linehan, its digital development editor, from September 2014, when the two posted a link for a job advert for the editor position of “The Times Ireland”.
In January, Cochrane retweeted a message congratulating Richard Oakley on being appointed editor of “The Times Ireland”. Murray said Times Newspapers later learnt Cochrane had “secretly” registered the Twitter handles “@TheTimesIreland” and “@TimesIreland” in February.
Murray said interlocutory injunctions can be granted only to parties that acted promptly, and the delay in taking the case appeared to be a tactical one aimed at disrupting Times Newspapers’ launch. He said a “Sunday Times Ireland” app had been sold for some time, using the words Ireland and Times together without objection.
Times Newspapers said it agreed not to use The Times Ireland name in May after The Irish Times launched a High Court action. It now intends to sell the app as The Times & Sunday Times (Irish edition). He said the new Monday to Saturday part of the package would be referred to as The Times (Irish edition).
In his affidavit, Kavanagh said the registration of the Twitter handles by Cochrane was “not a cynical exercise by the plaintiff, but a legitimate step to protect its goodwill”. Kavanagh said it was taken “without any awareness” of Times Newspapers’ intention to use those names.
And irony of ironies: Irish Times newsroom just got a phone call from person looking for someone from the Irish edition of the London Times.
— David Cochrane (@davidcochrane) July 27, 2015