July 7, 2016
"We never knew what hit us," was the comment made about the trademarking of their town's name, Breckenridge. Another official described it as the sixth-grade bully who, upon obtaining the trademark, sent cease and desist letters to all businesses with the name Breckenridge. This was fought by locals and Vail backed off, but the damage was done.
In a guest editorial, which was an attempt to support the "limited" scope of the trademark, it actually made the best argument to fight it.
"Park City is our collective name –how we are known locally regionally, nationally and internationally" was the quote. There are several areas where the argument against the trademark can be made. First, its use in the public domain, second, will the name cause confusion, third, the geographic location.
Representatives from Vail have said that they are not going after local businesses. They have in fact cost at least one local business $30,000 in legal fees to defend their name.
Vail has agreed to meet with local businesses and, if Vail decides they are not a competitor will give them permission to continue using Park City in their name. Do we not see the problems this will create?
The whole concept of one business deciding what other businesses can name themselves is ludicrous! I have had several communications with a former Deputy Director of Patents and Trademarks, who believes there is cause to fight this. While the scope is limited at this time, there is no provision that it can't be expanded in the future.
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The Park City council is in receipt of a petition with over two thousand signatures and 150 pages of public comment, all in agreement that this should be fought and not just settled.
There were more that 450 anonymous signatures, several of whom I personally contacted. Their fear of Vail's retribution was the major reason for not adding their names.
This is just wrong! It's a sad day when people are afraid to speak out for what they believe. I want to commend the council for their willingness to take this up. While the community has not heard a lot of comment from them, the delicate nature of the process requires silence while they determine the direction they are going to take. When the transition was happening with Vail and PCMR, we had discussions about the importance of OUR brand and we welcomed them to be a part of it. So much for that!
We cannot let Vail divide us or steal the name that represents a great history, culture and community. In the near future there will be a public hearing on this and if there was ever a time to attend, it will be then.