Business papers get new names Action avoids court battle HOWARD COUNTY BUSINESS

September 30, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

The publisher of two Howard County business newspapers is changing the names of his publications after the Baltimore Business Journal filed a suit alleging that the original titles were a copyright infringement.

Starting Tuesday, the Columbia Business Journal will be known as the Columbia Business Monthly and the Howard County Business Journal will be called the Howard County Business Monthly.

Edward Pickett, publisher and editor of the fledgling newspapers, signed a consent injunction -- finalized yesterday -- in which he agreed not to use the words "business journal" for his publications.

Mr. Pickett said he decided to change the names to avoid a court battle that could drag on for months. By signing the injunction, the Baltimore Business Journal will withdraw its lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore last month.

"I did not think the name was as important as they did," said Mr. Pickett, a reporter with The Sun and WBAL's radio and television stations in the days when Spiro T. Agnew was governor.

"I don't consider changing the name as important as putting out a good publication," he said. "That's what we want to continue to do."

Robert Burdon, president and publisher of the Baltimore Business Journal, said company officials felt Mr. Pickett's use of the words "business journal" harmed the integrity of his publication.

"To have an individual come in and try to use our name, obviously that would create a concern," Mr. Burdon said. "I'm very satisfied with the way things turned out."

Baltimore Business Publications Inc., a subsidiary of American City Business Journals Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., filed suit alleging that use of the words "business journal" was a copyright infringement.

American City, which publishes 24 business newspapers in the country, has the name of its publications protected by state and federal trademark laws.

The company sought $300,000 in damages from Mr. Pickett over the names of his free publications that debuted in January and have a total monthly circulation of about 24,000.

Baltimore Business Publications, which has published its newspaper for 10 years, wanted the court to prohibit Mr. Pickett from using the words.

The company argued that Mr. Pickett's use of a similar name confused readers and advertisers.

The company also wanted all of Mr. Pickett's advertisements, labels, signs, prints, business cards, stationery, brochures or other materials using the words to be destroyed.

Mr. Pickett, who has offices in the 9800 block of Broken Land Parkway in Columbia, publishes Monday Morning Business Briefs, a weekly business newsletter, in addition to the monthly newspapers.

His company, which uses mostly free-lance writers and columnists, debuted an Annapolis edition on Tuesday. That publication is called the Annapolis Business Monthly.

Despite changing the names, Mr. Pickett maintains that his company would have prevailed in the lawsuit.

"I still feel that way," he said.

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