Hundreds protest against Vail Resorts’ attempt to trademark ‘Park City’

Hundreds protest against Vail Resorts’ attempt to trademark ‘Park City’

Ever since Vail Resorts, owner of Park City Mountain Resort, submitted its application to trademark the term ‘Park City’ over two years ago, there has been no shortage of opposition present in the Park City community. Vail Resorts has made claims that this potential trademark ownership is intended only to protect itself from other ski resorts using the term ‘Park City,’ but local businesses and citizens alike aren’t buying it, as shown by a recent protest.

On the morning of July 14, about 250 people reportedly gathered outside of the Marsac Building, which contains Park City’s municipal offices. The protesters held signs with messages like, “You’re so Vail, you probably think this town is about you,” and “Don’t trademark on me.” Many also wore hats that read, “BORN IN PC,” made by Park City-based headphone manufacturer Skullcandy.

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Passionate protesters let their voices be heard through signs and apparel. Photo by Jefferey Denney

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The signs had no shortage of creativity. Photo by Garrett Schlag

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About 250 people attended the protest according to the Park Record. Photo by Garrett Schlag

The protest was not randomly timed. Inside of the Marsac Building, Park City Officials were meeting with Vail Resorts’ CEO Rob Katz, Park City Mountain Resort Chief Operating Officer Bill Rock and Park City Mountain Resort Vice President of Community Affairs Kristin Kenney Williams to discuss the controversy. Few details have been released about that meeting, but Park City Mayor Jack Thomas did briefly speak with the local paper, the Park Record.

“It was an intense meeting. I think we have a clearer understanding of where Vail stands with regard to the issues that our community has,” Thomas said. “I think the community is asking for better local protection of businesses and clarity with regard to signage and operation and interaction in the community.”

Thomas went on, explaining that Park City Officials offered Vail Resorts the option of adding “resort” or “mountain resort” to the proposed trademark to differentiate from the city’s name. He said, however, that Vail Resorts did not accept that offer and that the corporation is adamant on sticking with its initial proposal of trademarking “Park City.”

“I said you can simply add one word and clarify the issue here, and their marketing approach and their branding approach doesn’t include that. So I didn’t see any willingness on that part,” Thomas said.

Katz, on the other hand, left the meeting with a much better impression than Thomas.

“Excellent feedback, good dialogue. And, you know, we’re going to continue to work together, and this is a terrific relationship and a terrific meeting that we just had,” he said. “And we look to continue, you know, all the good dialog that we had and appreciate everybody’s feedback.”

Large-scale consequences could come to Vail Resorts if a mutually beneficial agreement isn’t reached. Until now, a plan was in place for Park City tax money to fund $10 million worth of infrastructure towards Park City Mountain Resort. That money would go towards a transit hub, garage and other expensive projects that may be crucial to the resort’s wellbeing. Now, however, Park City Officials are considering withdrawing that funding in response to their difficulties with Vail Resorts.

This story is ongoing. For future information, make sure to tune back in to Freeskier.com.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the Park Record for their extremely helpful information throughout this controversy.

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