Saturday, January 20, 2007

Martha Stewart Plan Trademark Katonah Collection May Not Be Legally Possible

Martha Stewart is planning to trademark a line of furniture – “Katonah Collection”.

Some resident’s of Katonah thinks this is not a good idea.

Reasons giving:

“We don’t think it’s a good idea for her to assert trademark rights over a name that’s been in use as a place name since 1852,”

“Doesn’t mind that Stewart uses the name for furniture but doesn’t understand the need to trademark it.”

“I don’t think that someone should actually own the word ‘Katonah.’ ”

Martha Stewart’s spokesperson response:

“Martha Stewart, number one, loves Katonah; number two, seeks to honor the town and the hamlet by using the word Katonah.”

Martha Stewart has associated the name Katonah also in the home building business.

KB Home and Martha Stewart Living launched a project to build 650 houses, which will come in many different variations. The homes, which KB says are "inspired" by three of Ms. Stewart's own houses in New York and Maine, have names such as “Katonah” and "Lily Pond."

Here is a link to the Katonah Model Homes

I was curious as to what the US Patent Office web site indicated on this point:

Under U.S. trademark law, geographic terms or signs are not registrable as trademarks if they are geographically descriptive or geographically misdescriptive of where the goods/services originate. The theory is that other producers in that area would need to be able to use a geographic term to describe where their goods/services are from and that one person should not be able to prevent others from using that term. If a term is misdescriptive for the goods/services, consumers would be mislead and/or deceived by the use of the term on goods/services that do not come from the place identified.

It would seem to me as a layperson that since the “Katonah Collection” of furniture is not made in Katonah it cannot be trademarked.

The residents of Katonah taking issue that you cannot owned the word Katonah look to be 100% correct under the US Patent laws.