Best Lawyers sues Washington publisher over “Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers” directory

Trademark law

Best Lawyers sues Washington publisher over “Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers” directory

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The company that does business as Best Lawyers sued the publisher of Washingtonian magazine for publishing a directory and attorney referral service called “Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers.”

The March 30 trial filed by BL Rankings maintains that the Washingtonian Media Inc. directory infringes BL Rankings trademarks, Reuters reports in a column by Alison Frankel.

The lawsuit claims Washingtonian magazine is misleading consumers into believing there is some sort of connection between the magazine and Best Lawyers. The lawsuit also alleges that the magazine “deliberately trades in the extensive goodwill that Best Lawyers has developed” into its trademarks.

The lawsuit says Best Lawyers’ lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled using extensive peer-review surveys. Best Lawyers also partners with US News & World Report to produce an annual ranking of “Best Law Firms.”

The lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

The Washingtonian is represented by Duane Morris, while BL Rankings is represented by Honigman. Reuters consulted its Best Lawyers and “Best Law Firms” rankings. He found :

• Twelve partners of Honigman were named “Lawyers of the Year” in the 2021 Best Lawyers Directory, while nine partners of Duane Morris achieved such a rating.

• Duane Morris has a national ranking in 19 practice areas, while Honigman has 17 national rankings.

• Duane Morris has a National Level 1 ranking in Intellectual Property and Trademark Law. Honigman has a national Tier 3 ranking in intellectual property, but is not recognized as a national leader in trademark law.

The suit is BL Rankings vs. Washingtonian Media Inc.

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