Concessionaire drops efforts to trademark Grand Canyon names

AP News
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Posted: May 07, 2015 6:17 PM
Concessionaire drops efforts to trademark Grand Canyon names

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A major national parks concessionaire has dropped efforts to trademark names of the Grand Canyon's most popular properties, including a group of rustic cabins, cottonwood trees and cantina on the canyon floor.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts, based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, applied for roughly 20 trademarks before its contract to manage hotels, restaurants and mule rides at the Grand Canyon's South Rim expired in December. It later won a temporary, one-year contract.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office now lists some of those applications as "dead." Xanterra said it is abandoning others.

The company sought trademarks for names including Phantom Ranch nestled deep within the park, Hopi House and El Tovar, the South Rim's most prominent hotel. Trademark experts said Xanterra likely was trying to gain a competitive edge in bidding for a new contract or be paid for the value it has created in the names.

Xanterra and its predecessors have operated at the park for more than a century. Places like the El Tovar were housing visitors before the Grand Canyon became a national monument and, later, a national park.

The company didn't respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The National Park Service previously wrote Xanterra asking it to abandon the applications. But agency spokesman Jeff Olson said Thursday the company did not communicate with the Park Service about the filing or its decision to drop the applications.

The latest contract proposal issued in February for services at the South Rim includes language that governs how names and logos associated with the Grand Canyon can be used by concessionaires. The Park Service said that's the direction it will go with any new contracts across the country.

Bids on the Grand Canyon contract are due May 20.

Applications are pending for trademarks and servicemarks, which identify services rather than products, in other national parks.

Philadelphia-based Aramark, for example, applied in April for a servicemark used in operating resorts and marinas at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Arizona-Utah border.

The trademark office said the company would not be granted exclusive right to "Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas" apart from the servicemark and asked Aramark to revise its application.