"Bid goodbye to Yosemite's familiar Ahwahnee hotel, Yosemite Lodge, the Wawona Hotel, Curry Village, and Badger Pass ski areaor their names, anyway. The National Park Service said today it will rename many well-known spots in Yosemite, as part of an ongoing legal dispute with an outgoing concessionaire that has trademarked many names in the world-famous park."
"Concessionaire Delaware North, which previously ran The Ahwahnee, Curry Village, and other properties at Yosemite, claims it was forced to purchase the intellectual property of the properties it operated, including the names, in 1993. Now Delaware North has lost the park contract to competitor Aramark and wants to be paid $50 million for the naming rights."
Keith's 14 January update: I am told that NASA will NOT be issuing a statement after all with regard to Trademarks held for "space shuttle atlantis" by Delaware North - the same company that ran services at Yosemite and still runs the KSC Visitor's Center.
"DNCY's parent company has apparently embarked on a business model whereby it collects trademarks to the names of iconic property owned by the United States," Justice Department attorney John H. Robertson wrote. The parent company, Buffalo, N.Y.-based Delaware North, also has a concession at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and "has a trademark application for the name 'Space Shuttle Atlantis,' " Robertson pointedly noted. The company declined to comment Tuesday."
Keith's 6 January note: This is just pathetic. Delaware North already extracts huge sums of money from taxpayers to see billions of dollar's worth of spacecraft that they've already paid for with their tax dollars. Then NASA gives them a space shuttle - and now these people are crass enough to try and trademark "Space Shuttle Atlantis"? So ... if this trademark is awarded will NASA have to change its websites to say Space Shuttle Atlantis™ every time this spacecraft is mentioned?
Keith's update: As NASAWatch reader Tom Matula noted Delaware North was just sent a notice of abandonment for their Space Shuttle Atlantis trademark application by the Patent Office because they have not used the trademark in business. Delaware North appealed for a whole bunch of extensions but then stopped responding, so it would seem. However these other two USPTO entries state that the same Trademark is "live" 4837151 (image) and 4507602 (words "space shuttle atlantis").
Keith's 8 January update: I had a conversation with Therrin Protze at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex today. Delaware North is the company that operates the Visitors Complex. He told me that they have trademarked the logo and phrase "Space Shuttle Atlantis" as part of their overall contract with NASA that allows them to run the Visitor's center. This is done to protect their ability to present NASA vehicles and exhibits and is covered by their contract with NASA. He told me that if, at any time in the future, Delaware North is no longer the operator/contractor for the Visitor's Complex, that they will simply hand the registration of these trademarks over to the new contractor at no cost to anyone including NASA. This situation is separate from a similar trademark issue currently being disputed with Delaware North over Yosemite National Park names that were trademarked. I am told that NASA will be issuing a statement in the next day or so on this matter.