Update: Suit Over Name “Fort Lauderdale”



In the age of Internet searches, the name Fort Lauderdale is worth millions.

And it is the name Fort Lauderdale and the wealth it creates that has sent two magazine publishers to U. S. District Court.

Broward magazine publisher Bernie McCormick, 76, who has been publishing “Gold Coast” and a number of other titles as long as I can remember, last week sued PD Strategic Media. McCormick alleges the newcomer has stolen his trademark for magazines – Fort Lauderdale.

“We’ve been using it for years,” McCormick said.

The new Fort Lauderdale Magazine owner Bob Cay countered, “We own the trademark rights…Whatever happens, we are not going away.”

Why sue now?

Because of Google and other search engines.

“Fort Lauderdale” is what visitors type into computers, iPads and smart phones to find information about vacations and shopping.   The primary name McCormick has been using Gold Coast, not so much.

“Nobody knows what Gold Coast is,” McCormick conceded. “…The name Fort Lauderdale is worth a lot of money because of the Internet. We’ve been using that name for years.”

Here are the allegations in the Federal Court law suit filed by Gulfstream Media Group, McCormick’s corporation:

  • Gulfstream has been using the Fort Lauderdale trademark on its publications since July 1, 1998.
  • For over a decade, Gulfstream has published “approximately 120 seasonal or monthly issues” of magazines with the Fort Lauderdale trademark.
  • “Gulfstream Magazines bearing the Fort Lauderdale trademark have been part of local and regional packages which have generated in excess of $12 milion in revenues for Gulfstream,” the law suit states.


But it is not clear cut. Thus, the law suit.

McCormick has been using Fort Lauderdale for a magazine.  The defendants want to use the name Fort Lauderdale Magazine.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that in 1999, a company trademarked the name Fort Lauderdale Magazine.  The company published less than a dozen issues of a Fort Lauderdale Magazine between 1999-2011.

The original trademark owner assigned it to a new company, PD Strategic Media, the defendant.  At one point, according to Cay, McCormick even gave up  his rights to the name in writing.

A month or so ago, McCormick got wind that on November 1, PD  “intend on launching a widely-circulated, seasonal magazine under the mark Fort Lauderdale Magazine.”

Cay said, “We’ve put together a beautiful magazine.”

Then in a shot at the editorial content of McCormick’s publications, Cay added,  “I really and honestly believe that successful city magazines are filled with good editorial which we don’t have in Fort Lauderdale.”

Mccormick has tried to negotiate with Cay.  Nothing was settled.

So McCormick sued.

McCormick is asking the Federal Court for an injunction to block the publication of Fort Lauderdale Magazine and to cancel PD’s trademark along with its Florida registration.

And, of course, damages and attorney’s fees.

Bernie McCormick and Nila Do, Gulfstream Media Group’s managing editor. 

7 Responses to “Update: Suit Over Name “Fort Lauderdale””

  1. Ed Foley says:

    Bernie McCormick is a gentleman and a scholar. I wish him well, win or lose.

  2. christine says:

    Lots of Luck, Bernie. You don’t have a snowball’s chance in…Fort Lauderdale.

  3. Seth Platt says:

    Sounds like a troll sitting under a bridge to me.
    I have seen lots of good content on Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Gold Coast- not so much.

  4. Huge says:

    Isn’t the woman a little young for you? What is she, 22.


    Ms. Do is McCormick’s employee. She is not his girlfriend, if that is what you are implying.

  5. disenchanted says:

    employee has many meanings

  6. Bernard McCormick says:

    Buddy, nice piece, but that quote about the “Gold Coast” name is misleading. That quote applies to tourists only. Any resident (and advertiser) knows the Gold Coast is defined as the string of affluent communities from Miami to Palm Beach. That’s why we began using it in 1970. That name as a magazine is well branded, recently appearing in the New York Times, and publications as far away as Spain and Australia. As the market grew, and one size no longer fit all, we began using regional names as far back as the 1980s, and one of them, designed for our visitors market and internet marketing, is “Fort Lauderdale.”

    We never gave up rights to that name. We have used it regularly since 1998. The law, with many cases in support, is clear. You use a name or lose it. Over the years, we have challenged a number of companies who infringed on our names. We never had to go to court. After checking trademark law, they always graciously withdrew the confusingly similar names.

  7. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I think Courney Crush’s “Riverwalk “magazine is even better than these publications. Also George Mehai’s “City View”is also very informative. I think this is frivlous. Then any hotelier that uses Ft.Lauderale in their adversizing should pay up also. People its a city. Everyone, every business, etc should be able to cash in….