Trademark teacher: Workshop hits on hot topic
August 19, 2016
It's been the summer of The Trademark.
And to Tim Smith, a lawyer at the Jones Waldo Law Firm who specializes in intellectual property, that's a very good thing. The fervor surrounding the dispute involving Vail Resorts, City Hall and dozens of businesses that use "Park City" in their names has been one of the most notable stories of the year.
With Smith scheduled to lead a Park City Chamber/Bureau educational workshop for members about trademarks on Wednesday, he's pleased the dispute has piqued interest in town on the topic. The more businesses that are exploring trademarks, he said, the better.
"I think you could see that as a silver lining," he said. "It got people thinking about it. You have a lot of things that have 'Park City' in the name in town, so it gives people some food for thought."
Smith intends to cover a variety of trademark-related topics during the workshop. First, he said, he will offer his perspective on the dispute, which saw Vail Resorts receive blowback from City Hall and the community when it sought to trademark the words "Park City" as it applies to a ski resort. From there, he will explain what it means to have trademarks, why they're valuable and what businesses can do to protect theirs.
"I think there's a buzz in the community about, 'What does this trademark stuff mean?'" he said. "I want them to understand what the whole system is about and why trademarks are important."
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Ryan Cray, member services manager at the Chamber/Bureau, said the organization's members have been enthusiastic about the workshop. Several businesses are already registered, and Cray was expecting a full turnout on Wednesday.
"That's typically what we aim for, what's interesting to businesses in light of recent events," she said. "Of course, this is a topic people are concerned about and want more information about. … We're hoping this will be a good education for our members on this topic."
Attendees will hear a pro-trademark message at the workshop. Smith advocates that all businesses consider applying for trademarks as soon as they are formed. There are huge upsides with very few downsides, he said.
"It creates a level of protection," he said. "… If you open a store in Park City, you may think it's going to start small and you're not worried about a trademark. But all of a sudden you have an internet presence and start to grow. If you've only used your name in your little niche, and someone in New York started using a similar mark and they registered it, you can be a senior user and still be stuck.
"And if you were to sell your company," he added, "it always adds value to have that protection."
Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Chamber/Bureau, said people who participate in the workshops typically leave enlightened. He expects Wednesday's event to be no different.
"We thought it was a subject that a lot of us in business probably don't know a lot about," he said. "We kind of rely on attorneys to do those types of things, so we're hoping people can come away in a 90-minute timeframe with a little more knowledge on what it's all about."
The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Park City Board of Realtors. The event is free for Chamber/Bureau members. To register, go to visitparkcity.com.
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