California to Ding Contractors for Trademark Fights

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By Joyce E. Cutler

Aug. 23 — The California state Senate approved legislation Aug. 23 that would ban companies that sue over trademark rights in public park names from holding state park concessions.

Concessionaires under Assembly Bill 2249, sparked by the fight over Yosemite National Park trademarks, would forfeit the right to bid on future state parks concession contracts if they sue to assert a mark of the historical, cultural or recreational resources in California.

Yosemite Fight Drives Bill

“While the state cannot dictate the terms of contracts in federal parks, this bill is attempting to use the possibility of losing future concession contracts in state parks as motivation to avoid making trademark claims in national parks,” a Senate analysis said.

Delaware North Inc.’s fight with the National Park Service over ownership of names in Yosemite National Park prompted the bill, which returns to the California Assembly for concurrence on Senate amendments. DNC wants successor concessionaire Aramark Corp.’s Yosemite Hospitality Corp to pay it for intellectual property DNC values at $44 million.

A.B. 2249 would create the California Heritage Protection Act. It would require bidders on park concession contracts to protect the state’s trademark and service mark interests in the venue and its historical, cultural and recreational resources.

Intellectual Property Bill Dropped

Separately, Assembly Bill 2880, which was intended to address concerns over who owns the rights in California-created intellectual property, was dropped.

“After careful consideration, I decided not to move forward with AB 2880 this year,” Assemblymember Mark Stone (D) said in an Aug. 23 e-mail statement to Bloomberg BNA.

Stone, the Assembly Judiciary Committee chairman, said he wanted to see what ideas an IP working group Gov. Jerry Brown (D) formed will propose.

A.B. 2880, which was intended to address concerns over who owns the rights in California-created intellectual property, had passed the Assembly on a 76-3 vote and unanimously passed June 28 a state Senate committee (125 PTD, 6/29/16).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce Cutler in San Francisco at jcutler@bna.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at mwilczek@bna.com

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