January 21, 2007
Branding Katonah, Martha, Isn't a Good Thing
Martha Stewart's idea to trademark a line of furniture named after her upstate New York home town of Katonah has probably not earned her many friends.
The neighbors don’t seem to mind her use of the name but cannot see why it has to be trademarked.
One of Stewart's people has said this will be "a tribute" to the town, like "Philadelphia Cream Cheese or London Fog raincoats."
The head of the Village Improvement Society has countered, "I don’t object to Ms. Stewart's using the name, but her attempt to prevent others from using it is disturbing."
My advice as a professional naming consultant: use it, but don’t try to protect it. As at least one Katonah resident has already figured out, the patent application is doomed anyway simply because Stewart cannot claim the furniture, which will in all likelihood not be made by local craftsmen, comes from Katonah, NY. These days, 70% of furniture sold in the US is not made in the US.
The Katohah brand name is not a good thing, Martha.
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