A U.S. District Court judge has ordered Ward 5 City Council candidate Robert Artisst to stop printing and distributing campaign advertisements that resemble the cover of Time magazine, although Artisst contends he has already done so.
In a suit filed Aug. 23, attorneys for Time Inc., publisher of the weekly news magazine, charged that campaign posters and leaflets bearing a red border and the word TIME in bold letters over Artisst's picture simulate the magazine's cover in direct infringement of trademark rights held by the company.
Judge John H. Pratt granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting use of those campaign materials. He is still considering a request from Time for an order requiring Artisst to turn over all such materials in his possession or control.
Artisst has acknowledged that some posters are still on public display, tacked to trees and telephone poles throughout the Ward in Northeast Washington. However, he said that, at Time's request, he stopped distributing and posting the materials in late July.
In testimony Monday, Artisst said that complaints Time Inc. has received about the advertisements since then have been unjustified.
Albert Robin, attorney for Time, said the company was alerted to the similarity between the magazine's cover and the campaign materials by calls and letters from District residents complaining that the ads implied some connection between the magazine and Artisst's campaign.
One of those letters was written by former council member Douglas Moore, one of four Democrats, including Artisst, seeking to unseat council member William Spaulding in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary. Moore said he wrote the letter to determine whether Time had endorsed one of his opponents.