Martha Stewart in Furore Over Village Trademark Attempt

06 July 2007

KATONAH, New York: US media maven and domestic diva Martha Stewart has ruffled feathers in the small New York State village where she resides alongside a number of other celebrities.

The founder of Matha Stewart Living Omnimedia has upset locals by attempting to trademark the name of the town, so it can be used to sell paints, lighting and other adornments for gracious living which Stewart (pictured) purveys.

But community group, the Katonah Village Improvement Society, is fighting back. The Nobody Owns Katonah campaigners, preparing to challenge Stewart in court, fear that if her company succeeds in its claim with the US Patent & Trademark Office, local businesses will have to get approval from her to use the name themselves.

Brand and retail experts say Stewart is simply trying to protect her business from competitors, who could market goods using the Katonah name. Her own Katonah Collection furniture is being sold through a Manhattan department store.

Support for the parochial, yet high-profile case, has come from all corners of the country. In addition to pro bono legal advice and trademark expertise, two members of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation, which claims 17th century Chief Katonah as its own, have also joined the battle.

Stewart's spokeswoman says the style doyenne is seeking "to honor the town and the hamlet by using the word Katonah", but her exploitation company is still preparing to circle the wagons.

Data sourced from Business Week (daily); additional content by WARC staff