San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Trademark Hypocrisy In the Federal Government

I know this is going to be hard for many people to believe but hypocrisy exists within the dedicated public servants who minister to us plebeians from the federal government level.  I was reading my newspaper the other day, over breakfast, when I came across a tiny article buried in a back section of the paper.  It was entitled, "Park fights to keep names."  The story is short enough for me to quote it for you here in its entirety:
"The National Park Service has opened up a new front in the fight over the names of historic hotels and other beloved landmarks at Yosemite National Park. The agency has asked a federal trademark board to cancel trademarks obtained by the company that previously ran the park's hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities, the Sacramento Bee reported Friday.  Those trademarks include the name 'The Ahwahnee," which was used on a luxurious stone and timber hotel with stunning views of the park's fabled granite peaks.  The park's previous concession company, Delaware North, is demanding the Park Service pay its $51 million for the names."
Let's review some basics first. A trademark is a special government privilege granting monopoly status and power upon some special interest group in exchange for a vote or cash compensation of some sort.  Monopolies are doled out by career politicians and bureaucrats in order to allow one group of people to exclude competitors from whatever it is they are doing, thus procuring for themselves artificially higher profits.   They are decidedly unfair and end up costing consumers more, as monopoly privileges always do, as well as reducing overall economic growth rates in the geo-political zones in which they are enforced.
The free market does not allow for the creation of a monopoly or monopoly privilege.  In the absence of an overarching coercive force it is impossible for any profit seeking company to obtain a monopoly over its competition.  Government, which hates the free market, has been highly successful in the propaganda war it has waged against the free market and most people today stupidly believe that monopolies only exist in the free market and that the government must exist, in part, to keep them from forming.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Monopolies are always creations of government as it seeks to hand out special political and economic privileges to groups that support it and encourage its expansion.
Trademarks are granted by the federal government of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika to give political and economic protection to a group which believes it has something in written form that is of value for its future and that should be protected from competition by the government trademark.  For example, the Mad Welshman (not trademarked) is a highly valuable moniker, largely due to my efforts at this blog for the past four years.  Should I wish to do so I could trademark my name and sue anyone who uses it for trademark infringement.  I would claim that no one else has the right to use those words because doing so would cause me some sort of financial harm.  The idea is preposterous, of course, but it is what we are all told.  In the never ending attempt to garner more and more government privilege some people have gone so far as to attempt to patent their names or common words that are somehow associated with them.  Most of those efforts fail for now but who knows what the future holds?
Because of trademark law many companies have come into existence for the expressed purpose of doing nothing more than applying for and obtaining as many trademarks as possible.  Everything is thrown at the wall and whatever sticks is granted a trademark. Once the trademark  is granted the company then scours the internet searching for that word or phrase.  When it finds the trademarked word or phrase used somewhere a lawsuit is immediately initiated.  The company being sued inevitably settles for millions of dollars, all of which are passed on to consumers as a cost of doing business in this immoral country, and the lawsuit is dropped.  Apparently no career politician ever conceived of this quite rational logical consequence of trademark law.  Politicians seem to have a hard time understanding how immoral laws always create incentives for immoral people to exploit to their own advantage that always ends up hurting innocent consumers.
Now the table has been turned.  The National Park Service is being confronted by trademark law and it does not like it one bit.  In a perfectly legal, but immoral,  maneuver the former concessionaire at Yosemite National Park used the trademark law to protect the names of the buildings and restaurants it managed in the park over the years.  The trademark office granted the trademarks and that should have been the end of the matter.  Recently the Park Service at Yosemite NP, for reasons I do not know, decided to terminate its contract with Delaware North and hire a new concessionaire.  Quite properly and quite legally Delaware North wants to enforce its trademarks upon the park and its managers.  Therefore, the career bureaucrats at Yosemite National Park are forbidden from using any of the trademarked words or phrases unless they are willing to pony up $51 million to Delaware North for the privilege of doing so.  This sort of thing goes on all the time in the business world but now it is happening to a government bureau.  How does it feel to have the shoe on the other foot?
The response of the National park Service is entirely predictable. Rather than obey the law that every profit seeking business in the country has to obey it has gone to the trademark office and asked for special privileges and exemptions that will allow it to continue using trademarked words without paying the requisite fees. There is no word yet on how that request has turned out but we know one thing for certain.....the career bureaucrats at the National Park Service suffer from a serious case of hypocrisy. Why does that not surprise me?

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