Saturday, July 16, 2016

Can a city name be trademarked?

I wondered about this following the brouhaha surrounding Vail Resorts' decision to trademark the “Park City” name.

What must be underscored is that the process of trademarking “Park City” was actually initiated by Powdr Corporation, the previous owner of our local resort, so let's be clear about it, Vail Resorts didn't actually start the food fight, it was the brainchild of a friendly corporate entity that did everything it could to “poison the well” of public opinion, when it lost its legal fight against the Colorado resort.

But I'm going off subject; yes, it's indeed possible to trademark a city name if it is used as a brand name for a specific product or service. For example, “New Orleans” is a registered trademark for a line of doors and window guards.

Trademarking a city name does not mean that one owns the city name, nor does it mean that one owns the city; it merely prevents other companies from using the city’s name in association with the product or service for which the trademark as been applied for.

In the case of Park City, and the current prevalence of “snow parks” or even “bike dirt parks” at mountain resorts, it becomes pretty obvious to see why an entity like Powdr, early on, and now Vail Resorts would want to grab that name for its own promotional purpose!

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