Ann Mroz: patronising, unpleasant and dishonest

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 1, 2011

Category: Consume!, Marketing, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
1:39 pm and is filed
under Consume!, Marketing, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement.

[MINI-UPDATE (03 Jun) – THE object to my use of the word ‘dishonest’ in this headline. I stand by my use of the word, but as a courtesy, I have placed this prominent and immediate link to the relevant correspondence so readers might better judge for themselves.]

Regulars of Bloggerheads will be aware that my family and I been through some difficult times recently. During the rolling crisis, several two-bit operations have sought to hijack the ‘bloggerheads’ name that I created, but my priority has been those attempting to associate this unique name (and mine) with paedophilia, stalking and what have you.

Recently, I complained to staff at the magazine Times Higher Education about their use of ‘bloggerheads’ – a unique name that I created to title my blog about blogs – to title a web round-up feature (i.e. their blog about blogs). I repeatedly made it clear that I wanted them to come up with their own name, especially when they clearly planned to use it to blog about other weblogs. They pretended there was no room for confusion, offered to put ‘the’ in front of it as a “concession” and left it at that. Almost immediately references to their magazine started turning up in Twitter and Google in searches for my unique name.

I complained again. They gave me the very clear impression that, were the name protected as a trade mark, they would immediately comply with my wishes.

Several times I pointed out to them that I had a significant and demonstrable moral claim to the name dating back many years, but they dismissed this notion in the most patronising way possible. I also pointed out that if they seek to market themselves on the via web/blogs, then there are far better ways of going about it than hijacking an existing name, which is one good reason why the expense of a trade mark has never been necessary before now in the decade I have been using the name ‘bloggerheads’.

I also pointed out that I was busy battling an ongoing campaign of harassment, and their position compelled me to spend money we could ill-afford at the moment, but they stood firm on their position (along with the ridiculous implication that they had searched the trade mark database but not Google when they decided on using this name as their own).

Ultimately, Times Higher Education Editor Ann Mroz left me with no choice but to trade mark the name so I might call their bluff and take further steps to protect it from recent misuse and/or appropriation by their organisation and others.

But now I have begun the trade mark registration process, they have changed their position, and plan to continue using the name as they have before!

That’s a class act, all the way. After compelling me to trade mark the name, now they’re going to compel me to await the completion of the registration process (and then, presumably, take them to court) before they will be in any way reasonable about this.

Their Deputy Editor can’t even name the sub-editor they claim ‘invented’ the word, but Times Higher Education staff are unwilling to admit that they made a mistake by using this unique name without first researching it. They even have the audacity to minimise the significance of its use from their point of view (e.g. it’s ‘only’ on page 24 of their magazine), but surely if it’s no big deal to them and a bloody big deal to me, then that’s even more reason for them to back off and do what they should have done in the first place; come up with a unique name of their own invention.

[Other, smaller, organisations who have recently sought to appropriate this name have also been contacted about this matter today. I am hoping that they will be more reasonable. I certainly can’t see how they can top this response from Times Higher Education. I realise THE are in the education sector, but surely they’ve grown out of playground games by now.]

UPDATE – Check the comments for a contribution by ‘Malcolm Kent’. It was submitted using false details, and is an obvious sock-puppet.


  1. Jonathan Westwood says

    The name has protection without the need for registration: it’s an unregistered mark and they are arguably committing the offence of passing off. Just issue a letter before claim and then (if they do nothing) submit a claim form if necessary – you don’t need to wait for the months-long registration process to conclude.

    • Tim_Ireland says

      Thanks. I have just received some very good advice along these lines, and have emailed THE accordingly.

  2. Carl Eve says

    The fecking arrogance of these people. I love that there's an article entitled "Research is not the only measure of excellence" currently on their site. It appears they can't do research themselves.

    Why they can't change it to Blogheads and have done with it, but no – they are the THE and they are right and that's the end of it.

    Bloody snobs.

  3. Malcolm Kent says

    Are you seriously suggesting that the sub-editors of Times Higher Education were incapable of independently combining the words "blog" and "loggerheads", and that they deliberately plagiarised this masterful pun from you, an inconsequential blogger who has absolutely nothing to do with higher education? "A unique name that I created"? Get over yourself.

    • Tim_Ireland says

      Hello, Malcolm. Would you care to declare an interest before we discuss this pathetic straw-man argument of yours?

    • Tim_Ireland says

      Quick update – I'm sure it will surprise no-one that the email address used to post this comment was false. It is fair to suspect that the name used ('Malcolm Kent') is also false. Coincidentally, this comment was published so late at night it was early morning, and the timing just happens to coincide with the appearance of an article on the THE website that cheekily titles the feature 'The Bloggerheads'. That article was by John Elmes, Editorial Assistant at Times Higher Education, who was my first point of contact on this matter and, I suspect, the person who claimed to have originated this name. I have approached John Elmes for comment about this sock-puppet attempt. He has denied making the comment himself, and has rather confidently stated that no-one at THE is responsible for it.

      • Malcolm Kent says

        For the record [snipped by moderator*]

        I note, moreover, that one of your favourite rhetorical devices is to control any discourse by insisting that people retract this, clarify that and declare the other before you will engage with them. I have no interest in playing such childish and tedious internet games, and thus will not post here again.

        Feel free to append some snippy comment to this, so that you appear to have the last word.

        • Tim_Ireland says

          *Sorry, whoever you are, but you do not get to use my site as a platform if you are knowingly giving false details when submitting comments. As for your assurance that you will never comment here again, that promise means very little from someone who sock-puppets like you do. I also make no apologies for expecting the retraction of untruths, clarifications of any uncertainty or distortion, or the declaration of any interests before people use my website as a publishing platform. That applies to supporters as much as it does critics. As for the last word, this prophecy of yours may appear to some to be a certainty from the moment you said you weren't going to comment again, but I seriously doubt you'll be able to help yourself.

          I think it is entirely fair that I expressed my suspicions in some very suspicious circumstances, and for added measure I have very clearly said that "I have approached John Elmes for comment about this sock-puppet attempt. He has denied making the comment himself"

          In any case, the 'point' you raised was a pathetic straw man argument, and I do not need to play any games to reject it.

          Don't bother coming back. Seriously. Sock puppeting cowards are not welcome here, and you've shot your bolt**.

          (**I say this assuming this is your first time here. One can never be sure with losers who use sock puppet accounts to attack others. Man up and face people for a change. You may feel better about yourself.)

        • Ming says

          "I have no interest in playing such childish and tedious internet games" – says the person hiding behind fake details.

  4. Herve DuChat says

    Wishing you good luck in your battle with THE. They are, indeed, often a hypocritical bunch.

  5. Well-wisher says

    Rupert Murdoch et. al.

    That is all…

    (Good Luck)

    • Tim_Ireland says

      THANK you for displaying another point of confusion that concerns me; a name like 'Times' anything may also give people the impression that I am associated with a Murdoch project. (THE is not Murdoch-owned as far as I am aware.)

      • @norock says

        It's not; he sold the Supplements business in 2006

        • Tim_Ireland says

          Good to hear, but there is still the risk of association thanks to the inherited name.

  6. @norock says

    "It's only on page 24" Are they suggesting that intellectual property law weakens the further you travel through a magazine? In which case, presumably copyright law vanishes completely by the time you reach page 30 or so, and anything in the THES from there would be public domain?

    • Lydia says

      There is no "page 24" on the internet!

  7. Carl Eve says

    Didn’t Private Eye recently have to change its recently created Green column because it matched another newspaper’s green column title? If PEye can do it, why can’t THE?

  8. mary says

    Keep fighting them.

    Same old, same old….. as with Blackstone and Southern Cross, private equity lies behind TSL.

    History of the Times Supplements.

  9. Claire says

    Here's an interesting name-change situation:

    Unfortunately, Peace News et al aren't the ones with the prior 'ownership' of the name which isn't a name but more of a noun with accompanying adjective! Either way, it's the bigger group bullying the smaller (or an individual in Bloggerhead's case).

    Good luck.

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