Let's not get "news" confused with "letters to the editor"...that's just dumb. Anybody can write anything in a letter, there's no fact checking, just the discretion of the editor to publish it. I wouldn't get up in a bunch until you get some real facts.
It's actually correct. The letter to the editor came from a local State Representative who called me (and many other local business leaders, I'm sure) as a courtesy prior to publishing the letter. We're certainly giving this issue some serious attention, and we hope that Omni and CNL will choose to coexist peacefully with the local business community without taking such a bold position. They've taken a pretty big PR hit so far. I see their point to some degree, but at what cost?
MWO Executive Director
There is a much bigger story, with some nice pictures, in the Weekend edition of The Conway Daily Sun here:
Here are some tidbits from the USPTO:
Current Status: Further action on the application has been suspended.
Date of Status: 2010-09-17
Filing Date: 2008-06-23
You can search the USPTO site here:
There are several applications on file, all suspended, starting in June 23, 2008
Check out the definitions of copyright and trademark. They are for quite different purposes. Trademarks are used for things like a phrase or slogan (and other things). We could trademark "The Highest Paid Employees in New England" referring to the MWO observers. No one would probably object.
When one creates a business or organization you have to do a name search to make sure your selected name has not been taken - or is too close to an existing one and could cause confusion. That name is copyrighted. Mount Washington Observatory is a registered organization name. Mount Washington Hotel & Resort is a registered corporate name (they used to be Mount Washington Hotel). Somewhat close - but, I would doubt anyone would confuse a hotel with a weather observatory. If someone tries to create a Mount Washington Inn or a Mount Washington Motel, then one could argue there might be confusion. Normally the existing company (Mount Washington Hotel & Resort in this example) would be the one to argue their case and prevent the newer company from using that name.
It is a company's responsibility to protect their name. Coca Cola worked hard on this about 40 years ago. People were asking for a coke and getting a Pepsi. I am sure that Coca Cola's lawyers said protect the name or you will lose it as it could become common language. So, Coca Cola had people going to different places and ordering a coke. If they were served a Pepsi, the company was sued and some tried to fight it. There were some restaurants who were fined big time for violating Coca Cola's copyright.
Kleenex did not fight to protect their copyright enough - in my mind. And now any tissue is called a Kleenex and I am not aware of anyone being taken to court for it. I am sure there is some time period in which one must challenge to protect your copyright. The Mount Washington Hotel was created in 1902. If other companies came along after that with a similar name and the Mount Washington Hotel did not object, at some point their inaction says it is okay. But, this all is copyright stuff. (Please remember I am not a lawyer and I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night).
The action the NH Representative is commenting on references the trademark requests we can all see off the Trademark site, for a trademark. Very different. Can one trademark a place - Mount Washington? A Google search for "Mount Washington" tells us of our beloved in NH - plus one in Pittsburg, PA - plus, in Mass - and Los Angeles, CA - Baltimore, MD - Kentucky. Can one trademark something that is not unique?
So, I see two different actions here. One is to register the phrase "Mount Washington" as a trademark. Even if they get that, I am not sure what it does for them. The second thing from the article is they are contacting other companies to protect their copyright for the corporate name. Going after "new" companies makes sense and any company should do that. But, if they have not objected to an organization that has been in business for 50 or more years, then maybe the time has run out.
I am travelling tomorrow. So, I will be looking for a Holiday Inn Express to make sure I understand this fully.
If by some wild stretch of the imagination they were given the trademark, it would only apply to businesses in the same industry. So it you own the Mount Washington Motel or Mount Washington Bead & Breakfast, you might have a problem. However, there is no way to confuse the hotel with Mount Washington Car Wash, so no issue.
Seems like more people on this forum understand the issues (or non-issue) then the person who wrote the original letter to the editor. It's a non-issue. You can't trademark the word "Mount Washington"...but you can try. You could spell it differently and trademark that, or trademark the words "Mount Washington Hotel". And, like Bluedog said, it would only apply to businesses in the same industry.
Some other thoughts. The Mount Washington Hotel doesn't care about making other hotel owners mad...they care about protecting their business identity. I bet Coca-Cola angered businesses when they sued them over the issue Brad mentioned. I bet they didn't care either. They are in the business of doing business, not letting other companies steal their identity. In Coke's case that's their most valuable asset, their brand name and copyrights.
Crossposting this from another forum, I am the original author and have edited.
Actually, there is a small B&B in Shelburne that has the name Mount Washington B&B. It is easily 70+ miles by road from the The Mount Washington Hotel, but the B&B owner participates in many of the MWV marketing venues. I'm sure they will be impacted by this and it seems a lot like targeting an ant hill with a nuclear warhead. 8 rooms vs the vast Bretton Woods establishment?
What is so hilarious to me about this situation is the HUGE number of tourists I see during the spring, summer and fall seasons who have printed MapQuest or Google Maps driving directions to the Mount Washington Hotel or to the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Invariably they wind up at the Mount Washington Auto Road almost 60 miles off course.
I'm talkin' about easily a dozen to twice that many people a day at the height of season. Totally irritating to tourists, not much less irritating to AR staff and I'm sure the MWSP staffers at the summit. Its hard not to chuckle , or bite your lips to keep from chuckling, when an outraged foreign speaker waves a sheaf of Google Maps in your face as proof of your incompetence. The COMPUTER says YOU ARE WRONG. THIS IS THE WAY!
Well, there is a reason for it. MapQuest and Google search FIRST on the ZIP CODE for Mt Washington. The Mt Washington Summit has it's own zip code, 03589, at 44.16 / -71.32, and thats where the confusion lies.
Automated mapping systems will match the zip code location Long/Lat on the ini- search string and find the closest road way to get you there. Happens to be the Mount Washington Auto Road.
Sorry CNL, you've got a bigger problem here than you think, ( its 6288' tall with a coded post office on top) and it isn't your perceived local competition that confuses your guests. By the Grace of your neighbors, we'll send your guests to you as quickly and expeditiously as possible. It isn't their fault or ours they can't find you.
Microsoft Streets and Trips used to think all the trails on Mount Washington were drive-able roads.
That's just awesome Sue!! Perhaps if the hotel is able to get their rights to the name they could also arrange to have the mountain moved - and dropped on top of the hotel. They might have more luck with guests showing up in the right location that way! ;)