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April 12, 2012 Rebuttal to March 23 City Letter

April 12, 2012 Rebuttal to March 23 City Letter

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Published by: propertyintangible on Aug 26, 2012
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8/26/12April 12, 2012 To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl and …1/3webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Mjx6o9g4TSgJ:redflannelfestival.org/wp/wp-cont…
This is the html version of the filehttp://redflannelfestival.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Apr-12_Response-to-City.pdf .
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April 12, 2012To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro TemChristine Fahl and City Councilor Patricia CapekRE: Red Flannel Festival TrademarksThe Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors has reviewed your letter of March 23, 2012 withregard to the City's use of the Festival's trademarks. We also appreciate the ability to sit downagain together to meet last Wednesday.While the Festival recognizes that the City has done its own very extensive research into thehistory of the trademarks and logos, the statement that it is undisputed that the City had firstuse of such trademarks is simply incorrect.As you may know, Nina Babcock wrote the original article in 1936. According to theCity’s own article, penned by the City Clerk’s 2009 MML Magazine states (attached) “TheClipper Girls figuring they only had a couple of years to play out the thriving red flannelbusiness, came up with the idea of a Red Flannel Festival.” The first Red Flannel Festival washeld in November of 1939.According to the excerpts from
The Cedar Springs
Story attached to your letter, Nina Babcockis also directly quoted as saying “…we decided to tag Cedar Springs the ‘Red Flannel Town’ andhold a festival.” Nina also founded the first Red Flannel Club (organized and incorporated) in1940, and remained President of that Club, as indicated in the
Cedar Springs Story.
This clubeventually became the organization it is today when it incorporated as the Red Flannel Festivalin 1978. To suggest the Red Flannel Festival organization merely began in 1978 is ridiculous.Using that same logic, one could infer the City was not in existence before 1959, as evidencedby your attachment of 1941 Village stationery.
8/26/12April 12, 2012 To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl and …2/3webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Mjx6o9g4TSgJ:redflannelfestival.org/wp/wp-cont…
Your assertion that “The City was using the same logo as early as 1976, in that case on thecover of a book about its history” is simply not true.
The Cedar Springs Story
, published in 1976,is a story about the City of Cedar Springs, Solon Township and Nelson Township. It was writtenindependently of the City by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJong. Local resident Sue Harrison hasalways owned the copyright of the entire book.However, without getting into more details of the founding of the Festival and its history of trademark use, the Festival has protected its rights to its trademarks through various state andfederal trademark registrations. As your attorneys have probably explained, merely postingsigns around town in itself does not create and/or maintain any legitimate trademark rights.Consequently, the Festival does not agree that the City has any bonafide common law rights in
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any of the Festival's trademarks, or has any superior rights for which the City is now trying tosecure payment for city services.With respect, the Festival Board has clear obligation and duty to protect all its assets. Inthis situation, the City has admitted it is clearly infringing on the trademarks owned by theFestival. It is true that in the past, the City and the Festival have worked cooperatively inpromoting the Festival. However, while we have worked together to promote the City and theFestival through joint use of some of Festival's marks, recently the City, on its own initiative,began promoting its own branding of license plates and license plate covers using the Festival'strademarks. The City has also used
RFF trademarks on its social media site, businesscards, and on new park benches.Obviously, this places the City in direct competition with the Festival by causing consumersto be confused as to the source of goods and services used in connection with its marks. Theseactions directly harm the Festival not only by diluting its brand but also though lost revenue.The City's actions have resulted in lost sales of Festival merchandise or other services providedby the Festival. Consequently, it is the Festival's position that this harm does greatly outweighany benefit the City would have in using the trademarks in any fundraising. Additionally, theCity’s use of the various trademarks would lead to more consumer confusion as to whether theFestival is affiliated with the City.Regrettably, the Festival cannot accept the City’s offer to “live and let live.” While theRFF Board of Directors is sympathetic to the overall financial situation of the City, the factremains the RFF budget is approx. $90,000 per year (from donations and event revenue) andthe City’s overall budget is $6.9 million (in taxpayer dollars) per year.

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