By Ed Cullinane via SWNS
Globally famous Vogue Magazine has written to a small village pub demanding that they change their name or face legal action - 200 years after they adopted it.
The international fashion magazine claims that the boozer's name 'The Star Inn at Vogue' could confuse its readers.
The David vs Goliath battle has now enraged the people of the small hamlet of Vogue, Cornwall, who have vowed to fight the demand and retaliate.
Pub owner Mark Graham, 60, said he thought he initially was having a joke played on him by a local when he received the cease and desist letter.
In the note, Vogue claimed the similarity between the pub's name and that of their 'international magazine' might confuse customers into thinking the two cooperate.
Mark, a veteran of the Royal Navy and former Cornish tin miner, says he has no plans to change the pub's name and wrote back with a 'tongue in cheek' letter.
He's since said the pub ought to have been consulted on Vogue's name, given Vogue was first published in 1916 - nearly a century after his pub was created.
He said: "I was really surprised that I'd received it. In fact, when I wrote back I started my letter saying I found their letter interesting on the one hand, and also hilarious.
"We were quite surprised and the general attitude from everyone was just to ask if they had google - because surely they'd realize we aren't competing in the same league.
"You'd think someone in their office would just search what we are and realize that we're just a country pub, we're hardly courting the same clientele by a long way.
"We've not had the name for long after all - just shy of 200 years. The 'at Vogue' part at the end has been used on and off, but I've been here 17 years and always used it."
Mark says he thinks Vogue’s concern may have arisen when he and his wife decided to change their trading status from a partnership to a limited company.
In the letter, Vogue wrote: “We are concerned that the name which you are using is going to cause problems because as far as the general public is concerned a connection between your business and ours is likely to be inferred.”
They threateningly add later: "Please reply within seven days or we will take remedial action.”
Despite their threats though, Mark says he has no plans to change the name and will 'continue on as normal'.
He added: "We have no plans to change our name, and we'll no doubt crack on the way we always have.
"I've had some legal advice, and one thing I'm trying to do is see if I can make them turn up at our local court if they challenge us for the name - so they can't just sit back in London.
"That way they actually have to come to us, but we've got to work out how they'd be forced to come here as they don't have to I don't think."
Outraged villagers too have taken up arms against Vogue's demands, encouraging Mark to retaliate with cheeky events and newspapers.
He added: "The locals have now been coming up with unique ideas to get our own back. They want me to start a parish magazine called 'vogue magazine'.
"The latest idea is also we want to do a fashion week, 'Vogue fashion week', and get a big letterhead made, and then invite all the major magazines and companies to visit us.
"Everyone is willing to chip in, it's become a really funny local story."
Writing back to the magazine, Mark explained that his business was just a small country pub in 'a tiny little hamlet with half a dozen houses and a pub in the sticks'.
While just a small business, Mark says that the pub is a real heart of the local community - serving from 9 am for breakfasts and closing at 11/12 in the evening.
He wrote: "Whilst I found your letter interesting on the one hand, I also found it hilariously funny.
"I presume your magazine bases its name on the dictionary term for being in a fashion which is uncapitalized as used in the Oxford English Dictionary.
“If a member of your staff had taken the time to investigate they would have discovered that our company, the Star Inn, is in the small village of Vogue, near St Day, Cornwall.
"Yes, that’s right, Vogue is the name of our village, which has been in existence for hundreds of years and in fact is a Cornish word, not English.
“I note in your letter that you have only been in existence since 1916 and I presume that at the time when you chose the name Vogue in the capitalized version you didn’t seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue.
"I also presume that Madonna did not seek your permission to use the word Vogue (again the capitalized version) for her 1990s song of the same name.
"You are both at liberty to use the uncapitalized version without our permission. As a side note, she didn’t seek our permission either.”
Explaining that people could not possibly infer a connection between the two businesses, Mark added: "Our customer base is 95 percent locals. There's a running joke that any tourists that end up here are normally lost."
"I offered to buy their staff lunch too, and asked at the end of the letter for them to please reply to this letter in your own good time - dreckly would be appropriate."
Dreckly in Cornish slang means 'sooner or later', adopted due to the Cornish people's slow-paced and relaxed lifestyle.
Vogue Magazine has been contacted for comment.
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