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Punchbowl News, the Tipsheets Founded by Three Politico Alums, Is Sued for Trademark Infringement

A Massachusetts company says the Capitol Hill news startup doesn't have the right to the Punchbowl name.

Image via iStock.

A Massachusetts company named Punchbowl, Inc., has filed a trademark lawsuit against A.J. Press, Inc., the parent company of the political news startup Punchbowl News from former Politico reporters Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, and John Bresnahan, which debuted earlier this year. The suit, filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, says that the Framingham, Massachusetts, based company, which offers online invitations and greeting cards, has used its name since April 2006 and that the new company’s mark “is highly reminiscent” of its own. (Both companies cast their name in purple type.)

The Massachusetts-based Punchbowl says the similarly named DC-focused concern is a problem because both companies seek customers “who are likely interested in both news about politics and news and services relating to event and celebration planning.” Search engines could also be confused by the names, the suit says. Punchbowl News seeks subscribers for $300 a year. The Massachusetts Punchbowl says it contacted Punchbowl News in January to demand that it stop using the name but that it “refused to comply.”

Punchbowl News’ founders declined to comment.

The suit asks for injunctive relief to stop Punchbowl News from using the name, as well as monetary damages and attorneys’ fees. You can read the suit below:

Punchbowl v Punchbowl by Washingtonian Magazine on Scribd

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.