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
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.