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Holy Katonah Martha!

Affluent residents of Katonah, New York seemed indifferent that Martha Stewart chose the 152 acre Cantitoe Corners in their tiny slice of Bedford Township to walk her ankle bracelet. When Martha turned from real property acquisition to intellectual property acquisition however, residents turned from indifferent to pettish.

In late 2005, Martha Stewart Omnimedia filed six federal trademark applications on the word Katonah. Two of those applications have since gone abandoned, apparently as Martha Stewart Omnimedia decided to offer fewer products under the trademark. The four remaining trademark applications overcame all of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hurdles and seemed ready to issue. When the USPTO got to the “speak now or forever hold your peace” portion of the ceremony, however, someone chimed in.

At the end of the federal trademark application process the USPTO “publishes” applications for 30 days to determine if anyone has an objection to the trademark registration. In Martha Stewart’s case, although no one filed an opposition, someone filed a request for an extension of time to file an opposition in all four live applications. Such requests are typically a prelude to a full opposition if the parties cannot work out their differences during the extension period.

Legend has it that Indian Chief Katonah died from grief after lightning struck and killed his wife Cantitoe. If either one of them has any pull in the afterlife, Martha might be well advised to avoid golfing in thunderstorm.

Brett Trout

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