California Intellectual Property Blog


Yosemite Gets its Trademarks back in Settlement Agreement

Los Angeles – The historical names that once were a part of Yosemite National Park, such as the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village, are being brought back to their former glory following a legal settlement in a lengthy trademark lawsuit.

Delaware North registered trademarks for the names of the historic sites within Yosemite National Park during its 25-year run as the park’s former concessionaire. Recently to end litigation regarding alleged trademark infringement after Yosemite changed to a new concessionaire, Delaware North agreed to relinquish the claimed ownership of the trademarks for $12 Million.

The trademark claims, which park officials never agreed with, still prompted the park service to rename the landmarks within the park in 2016. The park also made alterations to the slogans on T-shirts, hats, and other souvenir merchandise. The changes infuriated park visitors, as well as park officials. Scott Gediman, the spokesman for Yosemite National Park, has been a firm believer that the names of the historical landmarks within the park belong to those sites as well as the American people, and not any concessionaire.

At the beginning of July 2019, park officials have already begun to remove a large white tarp that had covered the Curry Village name. Park officials are moving quickly to restore the names and visuals of the park that were altered, but they say that it could months to relabel all names around the park. Under the settlement agreement, all intellectual property will be immediately transferred to Yosemite’s current concessionaire, Aramark of Philadelphia. When that contract expires in 2031, Aramark will transfer the property back to the National Park Service.

As part of the $12 Million-dollar settlement, the federal government is paying Delaware North $3.8 Million for while Aramark is paying Delaware north $8.2 Million. The trademark battle started with an expiration of the contract with Yosemite National Park and Delaware North. As the decade’s long contract was coming to an end, Delaware North informed the parks service that if they wanted to find a new concessionaire, they would need to be paid $51 Million in compensation for the intellectual property. Delaware North had registered the landmarks and slogans with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to protect their investment in the park, without informing the Parks Service.

At the time of expiration for the contract with Delaware North, The National Park Service decided to replace them with Aramark in a deal valued at $140 Million annually.


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