Vail Resorts, based in Colorado, made a lot of people in Utah angry when it tried to trademark the name “Park City.” Now it’s giving up the fight – but it wasn’t necessarily in the wrong.
The mountain-resort conglomerate bought Park City Mountain Resort two years ago.
However, the previous owner, Powdr, was the one that filed the trademark application. (Actually, it appears to be for a service mark, if we’re being pedantic.)
Vail Resorts also argues that it’s common practice to seek trademark protection. That’s true! Vail already owns a service mark on “Keystone,” which is of course the name of a Colorado ski town and resort.
And the company isn’t even alone in Park City. Park City Brewery has a trademark on “Park City ” as well. In fact, multiple people could hold a trademark on “Park City” at the same time.
Those trademarks, however, would only apply to competitors in the same industry, according to Norton Law Corp. For Vail Resorts, that would include operating a ski mountain and offering lessons, its application stated.
Still, the city’s mayor and numerous elected officials worried that the trademark would leave businesses in Park City vulnerable to lawsuits, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune.
It wasn’t a good look – especially when Vail refused to sign an agreement that would explicitly allow the government and businesses to keep using the words, as The Tribune reported.
The result: protests, online petitions and anti-Vail adaptations of Beatles songs.
And Vail Resorts apparently couldn’t take the heat.
Calling the issue a “distraction” from its other goals, such as “affordable housing, parking and transit,” the company announced on Saturday that it would cancel its trademark application, the Tribune reported.
The resort also will take steps to distinguish its service vehicles from vehicles operated by the city of Park City.
Time for some bonus Denver trivia.
I stumbled across this weirdly hilarious anecdote while looking up trademark law:
The author of the Wash Park Prophet once used the expression “Mr. Trademark Abuse,” in reference to a certain person who files a lot of trademark lawsuits.
A few days later, according to the Prophet, an entirely different person complained that the Prophet had besmirched the good trademark of a company that actually is called Mr. Trademark® Inc.
The Prophet put up a disclaimer, saying that “Mr. Trademark Abuse” had nothing to do with Mr. Trademark®, but the representative of Mr. Trademark® reportedly wanted the whole post taken down.
The Prophet stood its ground – and now the whole thing is a case study at the Digital Media Law Project.