Magnificent Mile group not charmed by Baltimore’s use of Chicago’s trademarked stretch of Michigan Avenue

The Magnificent Mile Association sent a cease and desist letter to a Baltimore businessman to stop him from mentioning Chicago’s famed shopping corridor while referring to its own Charm’tastic Mile.

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Downtown Baltimore’s “Charm’tastic Mile,” not to be confused with Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

Downtown Baltimore’s “Charm’tastic Mile,” not to be confused with Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

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It doesn’t have a Tiffany & Co., a Neiman Marcus or even a Nordstrom — and it isn’t a mile long.

But the folks with the Magnificent Mile Association don’t like how the most famous section of Michigan Avenue is, they say, being used to promote downtown Baltimore’s “Charm’tastic Mile,” which is actually 1.3 miles long.

So in late July, a lawyer for the MMA sent a cease-and-desist letter to Derrick E. Vaughan, a Baltimore businessman who came up with the idea of the Charm’tastic Mile, he said. Vaughan emailed the Chicago Sun-Times a copy of the trademark he said he received for the Charm’tastic name from the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office in September 2020.

“It has come to our attention that your organization has once again been using the phrase ‘Magnificent Mile’ in advertising to promote Charm’tastic Mile programming or services,” wrote Eric Fogel, an attorney with Chicago-based SmithAmundsen. “Our client previously asked the Charm’tastic Mile to cease such usage. However, we are aware that you have subsequently used The Magnificent Mile® name to promote an event that would benefit the Charm’tastic Mile by piggybacking off of The Magnificent Mile’s brand, prestige and good will.”

The letter goes on to say: “We respectfully demand that you cease and desist your use of The Magnificent Mile®mark in your advertising and promotional materials. If you fail to comply, The Magnificent Mile Association will have no choice but to enforce its rights through the appropriate legal channels.”

The Magnificent Mile Association’s letter was first reported by The Baltimore Business Journal.

Vaughan, a consultant and native of the city, says he will comply. He gets it, he says, and he has the greatest respect for Chicago, a city he has visited often.

“To some degree, I can understand where the Magnificent Mile thought that we were kind of infringing on them, which we were not. But I can understand their position. We respect their position because we respect what they are,” Vaughan said. “Because a lot of what the Charm’tastic Mile aspires to be is that of what the Magnificent Mile has done — to be one of the top 10 to 15 most iconic streets in America.”

Neither Fogel nor a representative from the MMA could be reached for comment Friday.

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