Trademark Law

Best Lawyers sues Washingtonian publisher for 'Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers' directory

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The company that does business as Best Lawyers has sued the publisher of the Washingtonian magazine for its publication of a directory and lawyer referral service called “Washington, D.C.’s Best Lawyers.”

The March 30 lawsuit filed by the company BL Rankings contends that the Washingtonian Media Inc.’s directory infringes on BL Rankings’ trademarks, Reuters reports in a column by Alison Frankel.

The suit claims that the Washingtonian magazine is misleading consumers into thinking that there is some kind of connection between the magazine and Best Lawyers. The suit also alleges that the magazine is “deliberately trading off of the extensive goodwill that Best Lawyers has developed” in its trademarks.

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

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

The Washingtonian is represented by Duane Morris, while BL Rankings is represented by Honigman. Reuters checked out their Best Lawyers and “Best Law Firms” rankings. It found:

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

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

• Duane Morris has a Tier 1 national ranking in intellectual property and trademark law. Honigman has a Tier 3 national ranking in IP, but it’s not recognized as a national leader in trademark law.

The suit is BL Rankings v. Washingtonian Media Inc.

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