Vail Resorts files application to trademark ‘Park City;’ residents protest

Posted at 9:51 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 10:00:59-04

PARK CITY, Utah -- More than 200 protesters gathered outside city hall in Park City Wednesday afternoon. They were fighting to protect their city's name after Vail Resorts filed an application to trademark the name.

"You can't have our name, you can join our family, you can be our partner, but you can't have our name," said Sarah Berry, of the organization, Future Park City.

Someone, mocking the idea, even added a TM, the symbol for trademark, on the mountainside overlooking the city next to the letters, PC, which stands for Park City.

If the name was to be trademarked that means the resort, currently known as PCMR, would just be named Park City.

These protesters said Park City is their name, that generations since 1884 have worked hard to build up and protect that name, and Vail Resorts can't just show up and take it.

"It's blood, sweat and tears, and a lot of people are very upset that somebody wants to come in and make a profit off of other people's work," said former Park City Mayor Dana Williams.

Businesses like Park City Private Chefs, fear they may have to change their name and Vail Resorts has done nothing to extinguish that fear.

"They have talked memorandums of understanding, but I've yet to see one, or read one, or hear of one produced," said Kevin Valaika of Park City Private Chefs.

People also say changing the name of the resort from PCMR, to just Park City, brings confusion. They point to a sign entering the city as a prime example. It says Park City, referring to the resort, not the actual city.

"It says Park City and says shops, lodging, restaurants with an arrow pointing to the resort not to Main Street," Berry said. "I think for a visitor that's never been here that's very confusing."

While anger boiled outside city hall, inside Mayor Jack Thomas and Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz held a closed door meeting.

"There is a high level of frustration, and it's an ongoing process," Thomas said. "We are committed to protecting the communities’ interests and we're not going to back away from that."

Katz he refused to answer questions about businesses having to change their names.

"I really appreciate the people coming out and engaging and their passion is very, very important," Katz said.

Residents and business owners say there is one simple solution, to just add one extra word to the name, like Park City Mountain or Park City Resort. They say just don't use the same name as the city.

"I find it to be very disingenuous and it's just a slap in the face to everyone who lives here," Williams said.

According to Thomas, the city is scheduled to meet with Vail Resorts once again next week to discuss this issue. The city has a 60-day window to come up with some sort of compromise before the city would be forced to officially appeal the trademark.