I'm being sued by Vogue for my very common pub name – they think punters will get confused but it's ridiculous

A CORNISH pub landlord was stunned to receive a letter from Vogue threatening to sue him over the common name of his 200-year-old pub.

Truro-born Mark Graham, 60, thought a local was playing a prank on him when he got a “cease and desist” letter through the post from the top fashion magazine.


The COO of Condé Nast, which owns Vogue, had written to raise concerns about the name of Mark’s pub – The Star Inn at Vogue.

The 200-year-old alehouse sits in the tiny – and even older – hamlet of Vogue that blends into the village of St Day, near Redruth in Cornwall.

But the magazine top dog was worried fashion fans might get confused by the name and think there’s a connection between the stylish title and the Cornish boozer.

Mark was flabbergasted – the little family business that he owns and runs with his wife Rachel is hardly similar to the swanky New York brand.

The pub is dog-friendly, serves hearty food daily and has a large beer garden at the back.

Reviews on Facebook praise the place, with one punter commenting, “lovely relaxed atmosphere, very good food and really cosy”.

So at first Mark thought the complaint was a practical joke from someone in the tiny village.

He told Cornwall Live: “When I opened the letter I thought some b***er in the village was having me on. Surely these people can’t be serious.

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“In this modern day and age someone couldn’t be bothered to go onto Google and see that Vogue is a Cornish hamlet that’s been here for hundreds of years.

“It seems common sense has taken a backseat on this one.”

The letter demanded more information about the village watering-hole and asked that none of its imagery resembles the Vogue brand.

Mark showed Cornwall Live the correspondence from Condé Nast’s chief operating officer, Sabine Vandenbroucke.

In the letter, she said: “Our company is the proprietor of the Vogue mark, not only for its world-famous magazine first published in November 1916 but in respect of other goods and services offered to the public by our company.

“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.”

She added at the end: “Please reply within seven days or we will take remedial action.”

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Mark could not believe his eyes after reading the formal note – but then he had to laugh.

He snapped photos of the pub’s branding as well as street signs in the hamlet, sending off a witty reply to the magazine’s London offices.

He said: “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 fashion which is uncapitalised 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.

He added: “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 capitalised 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 capitalised version) for her 1990s song of the same name.

"You are both at liberty to use the uncapitalised version without our permission. As a side note she didn’t seek our permission either.”

In the end he said: “In answer to your question whether we would change our name, it is a categorical NO.”

Vogue has been approached for a comment.

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