One for the books at Splendido
February 24, 2013
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Hey, buddy. You wanna buy a book?If you want Splendido chef David Walford’s cookbook, and you do, you’ll have to be more creative than American Express might like.Walford said his publisher, Jeremy Hamilton, of Northstar Media in Indianapolis, committed two major screw-ups, the kind that keep good people like you from buying great cookbooks from elite chefs such as Walford.First, Walford’s book is titled “Wood Fire & Champagne Powder: Colorado Cuisine, Elevated.”The Steamboat Springs Ski & Resort Corp. owns the trademark on the phrase “champagne powder,” and has for decades, the ski company said in a written statement. That’s trademark infringement, and publishers are supposed to check for things like that. Walford said Hamilton gave him the all clear to use “champagne powder” in the book’s title, but there was nothing clear about it.Second, Hamilton and his company put the wrong International Standard Book Number (ISBN) on the book, Walford said, so Walford can’t sell through online avenues such as Amazon.com, Borders or Barnes & Noble.”If you go by that number, you don’t get that book,” said Jim Hauser, Walford’s attorney. “If his publisher had been playing straight with him, if he’d gotten him the right number, maybe David could have done a second printing with an altered title.”But Walford will not be looking for a second or third printing of that book, Hauser said.”If he publishes another book, and I hope he does because he’s up there with the elite chefs in the world, it’ll be with a legitimate publisher,” Hauser said.Walford received a grouchy-gram from the Steamboat Springs ski company’s lawyers, asking politely – or as politely as lawyers do – that he stop selling books with their trademarked phrase in the title and that he stop by the end of 2012.Walford said he has about 600 copies left.Walford and Steamboat worked out their deal a year or so ago, agreeing that he would “phase out” his use of their trademark by the end of 2012.”Maybe I can give them away, but I can’t sell them,” he said.
Walford is proud of his book, and he should be. The recipes are straight from his kitchen, and when you try them, you understand why Splendido has been so successful. Walford was with Sweet Basil through the late 1980s and opened Splendido in Beaver Creek’s Chateau in 1994.”It’s fun having a book. People buy it, and I sign it. We’re in a tourist town. It’s a great souvenir,” Walford said.He paid Hamilton to have it published, but he owns the book free and clear. He has broken even, and that’s all he was after, he said.”You do it for fun, for the satisfaction. You don’t publish books because you think you’ll get rich,” Walford said.Hamilton’s Northstar Media was registered in Indianapolis and appears to be out of business. Hamilton did not return email or calls to his cellphone number. The business number was inoperable and the website, indydine.com, is for sale.
The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. is just taking care of business, said Mike Lane, the ski company’s public relations director. They began using the term champagne powder snow as a trademark decades ago and refiled it in 2008, Lane said.”The history of champagne powder goes back to the 1950s, when a local rancher coined the phrase while out skiing Mount Werner. The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. has been using the term since shortly thereafter as a trademark for the goods and services we offer,” Lane said.Let your fingers do the walking through filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and right there it is, Register No. 3,796,193, filed for renewal on Feb. 1, 2008. On June 1, 2010, the USPTO reaffirmed that the phrase “champagne powder” is owned lock, stock and barrel by the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. (a Delaware corporation, by the way).”With the trademark comes the obligation to protect it,” Lane said.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.