KEWEENAW COUNTY – As trademark litigation continues in federal court, it has come to involve lawsuits, counter-lawsuits and more lawsuits. One company involved, Lac La Belle Lodge and Bear Belly Pit Stop, has launched an emotional public appeal on the popular gofundme.com website asking for a total of $ 50,000.
The funds are intended to help the growing legal costs of the business. The request, entitled: “A story of David against Goliath”, written by David Prehoda, a friend of the Troys and Cathy Westcott, owners of Lac La Belle Lodge since 2020, states, in part:
“Troy and Cathy are the owners of a small ‘Mom and Pop’ business in Lac La Belle known as Lac La Belle Lodge and Bear Belly PitStop. Troy and Cathy have been the proud owners of Lac La Belle Lodge since 2000.
It was the same year that Lonie Glieberman began building the Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, which today ranks among the Top 3 Extreme Skiing Experiences in the United States, and became known simply as Mount Bohemia. . The name, in fact, has become so iconic in its relationship with the company that now occupies the mountain, that the name has become a major part of the resort’s brand.
To protect the integrity and reputation of the company, the company’s brand, as well as the ski resort, Glieberman, owner of Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, was forced to register the expression “Mount Bohemia” because he thinks it’s now synonymous with business.
However, as court documents indicate, the Wescots refused to recognize the mark and continued to manufacture and offer for public sale merchandise and clothing in their gift shop bearing the name. “Mount Bohemia”.
The argument stems, according to Prehoda’s gofundme.com page, from Wescott’s apparent refusal to recognize Mount Bohemia as a ski resort, or anything other than “An emblematic geological feature”.
“Now come the owner (s) / operator (s) of Mount Bohemia ski resort, seeking to mark the iconic geological formation, known as Mount Bohemia”, Prehoda wrote, “And in doing so,” continued Troy and Cathy Westcott, seeking to prevent them from selling t-shirts, sweatshirts or other gift shop items that mention the name or represent the likeness of this well-established county of Keweenaw, geological formation. The items and clothing in the Troy and Cathy gift shop never used the likeness or logo of Mount Bohemia Ski Resort. ”
The heart of the dispute lies in the statement of the Wescott and Prehoda: “… seeking to mark the iconic geological formation known as Mount Bohemia.” According to federal court trademark applications, Black Bear, Inc., also known as Mount Bohemia, applied for and obtained trademarks – not for the geological formation known as Mount Bohemia – but rather for the two words combined. Mount and Bohemia. Trademarks, Glieberman told the Daily Mining Gazette, simply protect the sentence “Mount Bohemia” to be used by someone who might want to use it in a way that prejudices the integrity of the ski resort, which is named Mount Bohemia, something Glieberman said has happened in the past , but was specific in stating that involve the Westcott.
Glieberman told the Daily Mining Gazette that there is a workable solution that is not only much less costly for both parties involved, but much friendlier.
“Everything Troy and Cathy Wescott need to do to bring Mount Bohemia to an end to the trial” he said, “is to approach us for a licensing agreement.”
The ongoing litigation has come to life on social networks. A page has been created by as yet unknown parties titled Boycott Mount Bohemia. Lawyer Liza Hentz Roller posted on the page: “Say no to the predatory Mount Bohemia Ski Resort litigation over the Keweenaw businesses. Boycott Mount Bohemia Ski Resort until Mount Bohemia Ski Resort and their advocates leave local Keweenaw businesses alone! “
Roller posted several of these comments without offering an argument to support his claims.
Another poster, Holly Rivard, who is also a member of Boycott BackcountryDOTcom, posted on November 14. “The Mount Bohemian Ski Resort or (Mount Bohemia) has removed criticism and critical comments regarding their ridiculous lawsuit against our parent and pop companies who have used the mountain for their products for decades.”
The Boycott Mount Bohemia page also drops critical comments about his attacks on Mount Bohemia, including the publication of an article in the Daily Mining Gazette. The author of the article posted a response asking them not to use the Daily Mining Gazette or its articles as a tool to ruin a local business. While the article is still displayed on the page, the author’s response, along with two others, has been removed.
A response to the attacks on Mount Bohemia and the business owner on the social media page, however, escaped deletion. Melissa Rajaniemi Sutinen, wrote the following:
“There are two sides to the story. If it hadn’t been for Mount Bohemia, many wouldn’t stop at local restaurants during their stay. Many don’t come to a specific area just to eat at a local restaurant. A restaurant is most of the time a stop in a specific place. I imagine Bohemia brings people who would not otherwise come to visit the area and it helps other businesses while they are visiting the area. What sense does it make to boycott a company that is probably helping other companies? There must be a solution favorable to all parties concerned. We need local businesses. They mean jobs for people. If people boycott Bohemia, it may mean a slowdown in business during the winter months for others, with so many closings for the winter season. Hopefully this will lead to a favorable outcome for everyone involved, as it doesn’t seem reasonable to want to shut down businesses. “