City Hall intends to revisit ‘Park City’ trademark issues
July 26, 2016
Park City leaders at a recent meeting briefly addressed Vail Resorts' abandoned efforts to obtain a trademark on the name "Park City" as it applies to a mountain resort, but they also signaled there will be additional talks at City Hall about the broad topic of trademarks and the branding of the community.
Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council spoke about the trademark dispute in the days after the Colorado owner of Park City Mountain Resort said it would scrap the bid for the "Park City" trademark. The elected officials were not prepared to discuss the matter in any depth at the meeting and instead generally expressed gratitude that Vail Resorts ended the trademark efforts.
The mayor, one of the City Hall figures who was heavily involved in the discussions with Vail Resorts about the trademark application, said during the meeting he was pleased with the decision.
"I want to thank Vail Associates for their posture and their propriety in backing away from the trademark issue, dropping the application. I think we were all pleased," Thomas said, referring to Vail Resorts by a former name of the company.
He recounted that he received a phone call from Bill Rock, the chief operating officer of PCMR, on a Saturday morning informing him of the decision to end the trademark efforts.
Thomas also noted Vail Resorts agreed to "clean up any confusion in the community," which was one of the aims of City Hall and critics of the trademark application. The official name of the property remains Park City Mountain Resort, but it is marketed as Park City. Some are worried there could be issues delineating the mountain resort and the wider community.
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"I think our approach with regard to some of this will be to, now that the trademark issue is behind us to some extent, that we will assess the situation moving forward with regard to the branding within the community and evaluate that," Thomas said.
It appears City Hall will revisit the issue in coming weeks or months as officials craft a strategy. Mark Harrington, the Park City attorney, told the mayor and City Council plans are under consideration to address branding while a long-range monitoring plan will be put in place "so we are hopefully not put in this position again."
Harrington said City Hall staffers will return to City Council for a "full discussion of those shortly." It is not known when the staffers will schedule a discussion about trademark issues with the elected officials. It seems likely it will be late in the summer or in the fall since there has been widespread interest in the topic by the elected officials, businesspeople and Park City residents.
It is also not known what trademark-related issues will be of greatest interest as the mayor and City Council discuss the matter again. City Hall staffers typically prepare a report covering the history of an issue and offering a range of options for the elected officials to pursue in anticipation of a discussion like the one that is expected to be held regarding the trademark.
The trademark application for the name "Park City" spurred deep opposition by other businesses that use the name of the community in their moniker as well as Park City residents who resented the idea of a corporation holding a trademark on the name of the city. Vail Resorts, under intense pressure from City Hall and many Parkites, ended the trademark bid. A prior owner of PCMR had launched the trademark application and Vail Resorts continued the federal process before the decision to end the efforts.