July 3, 2019
As reported by the Montréal Gazette, a judge of the Quebec Superior Court has ruled that Le Journal de Mourréal, a website specializing in fake news stories satirizing actual news coverage, will need to change its name and pay $23,500 for infringing the trademark of Le Journal de Montréal.
Média QMI, a Québecor subsidiary that runs the Journal de Montréal newspaper, sought an injunction to prevent the use of the name by the website’s co-creator, Janick Murray-Hall.
Média QMI argued before the Court that the Le Journal de Mourréal website was eroding the credibility of the newspaper’s brand, using the newspaper’s brand to generate profits, and creating confusion among readers as to what was parody and what was actually reported. It evidenced the website’s logo, which was nearly indistinguishable, phonetically and visually, from its own, as support for the argument that the resemblance between the logos would be likely to cause confusion.
Le Journal de Mourréal, for its part, did not argue that its website did not copy the newspaper’s appearance, but, rather, argued that no one could confuse the two given the website’s satirical tone and nature. Quebec Superior Court Judge Micheline Perrault was unconvinced, ruling that the website “was designed to mimic the general appearance of the publications distributed under the Journal de Montréal trademark.”
Ultimately, Judge Perrault found that Le Journal de Mourréal can be confused with Le Journal de Montréal, and, as a result, there was infringement of the trademark.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Nargis Fazli