Fight over who owns Yosemite landmark names sparks lawsuit

AP News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2015 5:29 PM

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — A company that lost its long-held contract to run Yosemite National Park's hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities has filed a lawsuit demanding to be paid for the rights to the names of famous park landmarks worth an estimated $51 million.

Delaware North argues that it owns intangible property, such as the trademarked names of the Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village and the "Go Climb a Rock" logo depicting the park's iconic Half Dome. The company seeks an unspecified amount in damages from the National Park Service, The Fresno Bee reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1R3Bqr6 ).

The lawsuit claiming a breach of contract says the government mishandled an unresolved dispute over the intellectual property.

In June, the Park Service awarded Aramark a 15-year contract valued at $2 billion, the park system's most lucrative single contract. That ended Yosemite's relationship with Delaware North, which had run the park's concessions since 1993.

Park spokesman Scott Gediman said at the time of the announcement that the dispute had not been resolved, leaving that to be settled by Delaware North and Aramark, which is based in Philadelphia. Gediman on Thursday declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

Delaware North, which is based in New York, does not seek to overturn the new contract, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 17 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc., a Delaware North subsidiary, said in a statement that the park service required it to buy the former concessionaire's assets when it won the contract.

"We are now confused and disheartened that (the park service) seems unwilling to honor its contractual obligation by failing to require the new concessioner to buy and pay fair value for the assets that we use to operate Yosemite," the statement says.

Aramark's contract begins March 1, the day after the old contract expires.

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Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com