November 19, 2015

Hypercapitalism, Yosemite, the National Park Service and lawsuits

Early this month, I blogged about how Yosemite National Park needs to get "greener," noting specific things like lack of modern water facilities, no solar panels on buildings, etc. This is a hit-and-miss issue, as I noted; Zion, for example, is an exemplar of sorts within the whole National Park Service.

Speaking of ....

Yosesmite's parent was sued two months ago by the Delaware North concessionnaire company.

Why?
(It) claims it was owed big-time for its intellectual property investments at Yosemite. These include the historic Ahwahnee hotel, Curry Village and Badger Pass, names for which the company holds trademarks. 
 Formally known as DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite Inc., the Delaware North subsidiary argues that the government mishandled the intellectual property question, breached a contract and likely cost the company its shot at keeping the Yosemite business.
Now, regular readers know that I reject over-the-top claims of “privilege.”

But, there are real issues of privilege, or to put it another way, in this case, cultural appropriation.

Let's look at this more.

To be frank?

It's bullshit that DNC claims it owns name like "Ahwahnee" unless it can prove that this is an uninterrupted chain of custody from builder of hotel and that this is a made-up name by that person.

Rather, since it's an actual American Indian word, and an everyday one, the trademark to me seems questionable; and if there's any suing, the Yokuts should sue DNC, which I would love to see.

The other names? 

Given that Badger Pass Ski Area existed before DNC took it over, and that "Badger Pass" itself is a generic name for a place name, I'm not sure how that's trademarkable, even if some court granted it. That said, if it WAS trademarkable and the NPS has been dumb enough here and elsewhere, to give vendors inside national parks such trademarks, rather than retaining ultimate rights itself, we have another problem, Houston.

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