Sunday, August 17, 2008

Montana secures use of "the last best thing" for all

Read the story here about the Congressional committee action that prevented issuance of a trademark on this phrase, long associated with Montana and used by its residents. Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes story by Jim Robbins, who explains that the issue arose after a Las Vegas businessman, David Lipson, built a luxury ranch in Montana and sought a trademark permitting exclusive use of the phrase for his businesses and products:

The move caused an uproar among Montanans, and tapped into deep feelings about the trend of wealthy out-of-staters buying up property.

* * *

“The Last Best Place” struck a chord in Montana, the fourth-largest state in size but with fewer than a million people and millions of acres of wilderness.

Businesses throughout the state — from real estate brokers to motels — began freely using the phrase, and the State of Montana used it in a campaign, all without registering the phrase with the trademark office.

William Kittredge, who came up with the phrase for the title of an anthology of Montana writers that he edited, is quoted as saying he is delighted with the Congressional action because he viewed the the phrase "as a gift to the people of Montana.” He explained, “Montana wasn’t doing well economically at that time, and we’re out in the sticks, and it was a way to help Montanans feel connected to the greater world.”

Who, except the Las Vegas businessman who lost his quest for the trademark, doesn't love this outcome? Pulling for Montana in this one feels like rootin' for the underdog.

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